Dirt Man and I decide to go blackberry picking. I am thinking it is so hot outside. I dress in a sleeveless shirt and shorts. “You might want to rethink what you’re wearing. Remember we’re dealing with briars. You are going to have scratches all over your arms and legs.” I go back and put on jeans, three quarter sleeves, and shoes with socks. I know I am going to be burning up in this heat.
We drive out to where we are going to pick. All of the places we are going to pick are properties owned by the company he works for. The first stop is on the side of the road. The bushes are loaded with berries, and we are picking to our hearts content with cars whizzing by us. I push myself a little into the brush for a better reach. “Oh, I forgot to warn you about snakes. There are probably not any poisonous ones. Maybe some black ones.” What the heck did he just say? I hadn’t thought about snakes. Now, I can’t stop thinking about snakes.
I get into another section and he says, “Oh, yeah, I forgot about ticks and chiggers. Better be careful.” Now, he tells me. I don’t want to be all itchy and bumpy. My skin is starting to crawl.
“Oh, and watch out for fire ants. There’s a whole mess of them over here.” What am I on some kind of insect and reptile safari? I look down and see brown specks all over my arms. But, I am not burning. Oh, it’s just the flowerets from the blackberry bushes.
“If the fire ants get on you, you’ll be coming out of your clothes as quickly as you can rip them off!” Now, I’m not so much worrying about the pain of getting stung by them but the horror of being nude on the side of the road. Not a pretty sight I can assure you! I can just imagine the car pile up on the road as everyone watches this screaming crazy lady throw her clothes all over the place as she is jumping up and down and dancing around.
So, I am not much of a drama person. Heck, I don’t need any drama in my life because I have enough internal drama to make myself go crazy. So, now I am looking everywhere I step. I am looking for snakes, any kind of slithering. Every twig I hear break, I am ready for one to coil around my ankle. The buzzing bees are starting to sound very much like hissing snakes. Then an odor wafts through the air. Dirt Man says it might be a snake. Sometimes snakes will emit a foul odor. Maybe it’s some form of protective instinct, I don’t know. The smell gets stronger. Dirt Man suggests that it is probably a dead animal in the ditch a little farther beyond us. I reply that it’s ok as long as it is not a dead human body. To this he replies that it could be entirely possible as we are near a certain area that is known for a bit more criminal activity. So now, I am not only looking for snakes, ticks, chiggers, and dead animals, but also dead people. Blackberry picking is exhausting my mind. Not to mention that my back is starting to hurt from stooping over to reach them and avoid getting torn up by briars.
Dirt Man pulls out his machete. Yes, my man has a machete with him. He clears the briars, and places a board (the one that had some fire ants on it) farther into the woods, closer to the ditch that might contain something dead. Does he think I’m crazy? I am starting to get itchy. And put a B in front of that word and I am getting a little of that, too. And I see a humongous brown spider. I don’t scream when I see it (I keep all the drama in my head!), but I nearly jump out of my skin when something else brushes across my arm.
So, we move on to the company pit. The blackberry bushes are towering over these metal pallets. I have no idea what these are used for but am thankful that all I have to do it climb them and stand there and pick. No snakes, no chiggers, no ticks, no dead things. Score! But it is in the direct sunlight. Yes, it is hot. I am sweating. I feel something trickle down my crack. Oh, no! Oh, it’s just sweat. See, everyone knows I don’t sweat. I do anything I possibly can to prevent that. You know like no strenuous exercise and staying in the air conditioner or in water if I must be outside.
We decide to move on to the next designation. “Oh, watch out for wasps here!” Is there anything he is forgetting to warn me about? This has a bit of a breeze which is nice, but it is still hot as the dickens. My makeup is melting. Yes, I am wearing makeup because I might see someone I know. Not in the woods, but somewhere else if we stop anywhere when we leave here. I mean you just never know. When the wind blows, I can hear a rustle that almost sounds like a trickling stream. Come to find out it is the quaking aspens. Pretty cool, huh? Dirt Man is getting bit by mosquitoes. I am glad that the mosquitoes are not choosing me to feast on. I am starting to tickle all over. Hmmm, am I infested with ticks and chiggers or am I on the verge of heatstroke? My jeans and shirt are starting to stick to me. Dang, it’s hot! We decide to call it a day. I am happy to say that I did not encounter any snakes and seem to be tick and chigger free.
We reaped close to four gallons of blackberries. My agenda is blackberry cobbler. I wish I knew how to make wine. However, I think with that amount I’d only make a glass, and we’d fight over who gets to drink it.
I take a shower when we get home because I can feel creepy crawly things all over me. Mind you, I can’t see anything, but I feel them. My mind know they are there. See the drama in my head continues. After my shower, we go out again. I still feel like something is moving around and raising the hair on my arms. I look down and see a itty bitty green spider on my arm. A while later, I feel something on my leg. I reach down and find a tick crawling across my skin. Drama? Maybe it’s not all in my head. Excuse me while I go take another shower.