In the middle of my work day, while typing away on my computer, fingers flying in all directions — I reached up and scratched my head.
Some sort of dried-up scab was sitting on the right side of my head, above my ear.
“How odd?” I thought, not remembering any reason to have a scab on my head. I am prone to hitting my head on lots of things — showers, low ceilings, beams, doors — being almost six feet tall.
As I replayed my last 48 hours, I could not remember for the life of me, hitting my head with any scab-causing force. “Although,” I thought, “if I did smack my cranium I could have blacked out with a small case of head-scab amnesia…”
As I pulled the scab down to my palm to inspect it with the curiosity of a scab-picking thirty-eight year old, the scab ran up my finger.
For one, it was good confirmation that I did not hit my head.
Second, I swear the tick could fly.
I actually flung it off my fingers so fast I didn’t see where it landed. Which caused acute panic in my little Amygdala, as my eyes scanned the landscape of my desk to see where it lay.
“Oh, no!” my head screamed.
“Is it on me?
Did it land on my desk?
Are there more?”
I furiously scratched my scalp to see if there was an infestation on my hands and head.
Just one tick, now dangling off the corner of my journal. I scooped up my journal and held it over the toilet, hitting the end of it like a ketchup bottle, coaxing the little thing to jump off.
No dice. Not happening. Sure, he could jump onto my head of hair with no problem and make himself a merry little home, but try to remove him from my red, leather journal and his legs turn to glue.
I resorted to toilet paper.
He flushed down the toilet in a spiraling tick send off.
Right. Down. The. Drain.
It left me with so many questions.
1) How did I get a tick in my hair?
2) How did I not feel it moving on my scalp?
3) Why don’t I feel bad for flushing it down the drain?
Thus is life on Martha’s Vineyard in the summer.
Sure, people talk about the sailing and the tennis and the hiking and the beaches.
Because people don’t come here for the ticks. They come for the island vibe, the summer sun, the cool breeze and the water view.
Ticks come with the territory.
They were probably here first.
Later tonight, I walked down to the water to sit on a rock.
Over in the distance, next to the beach line, sat two pink chairs.
You can’t get to these two chairs from the beach, they are surrounded by brush (probably tick infested and laced with poison ivy!).
Here sits two pink chairs, perfectly situated to watch the summer view privately — as the sign says — PRIVATE PROPERTY.
Seeing these two chairs made me think about the people who sit on them. Are they married? Did they grow up here? Do they bring a picnic basket down to the (almost) beach line and watch the sunset?
Do they stare at the rest of us on the other side of the PRIVATE PROPERTY sign? Do they talk to people on the other side of the hedge? Or, do they just sit there, marking their property, sipping their wine and munching on snacks. Maybe they read a book?
Why do these chairs need protection?
What are they afraid of?
I suppose it’s not my business.
In a way, it’s no different than some unsuspecting tick, one of God’s creatures no doubt, who thought he landed a nice new pad on the top of my head today.
Instead, he landed in the middle of the swirling toilet bowl.
To which I pointed to the sign that in my mind said private property.
I’m learning to be LOVEMORE this year, and, I must admit after a 9-day trek in the Grand Canyon, I’ve made considerable progress with spiders. But, I’m having a hard time with ticks. And, skunks.
As the clock ticks down to December 31st, I realize I have a long way to go. Tick, tock! Tick, tock!
Fearlessness takes patience.
And, a little practice I suppose.