Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Night in Nacoochee Pt 2

Let me state for the record just in case I have not made it clear already, I don't do creatures and critters in the house. Dogs and cats are cool, even birds and fish, I prefer fish to birds, less mess and not as intrusive. Other than the aforementioned very very short list, creatures and critters belong outside. Outside the house, in the yard or woods or wherever they live, that is where they belong and I am good with that, I am real good with that.

You will never have to worry about me crossing the path of a bear, or mountain lion, or badgers, deer, or otters even, whilst out hiking soaking up the sunshine and thinking, "Ahh, ain't life grand, this is just great." If by any chance someone tells you they have a picture of me backpacking or hiking over hill and down dale, believe me buddy it was photo shopped.

So here we are in Nacoochee, White County, GA (I just love that name, Nachoochee, it is so cool and funny. It's an Indian name, like many places in or country we kept the names and got rid of the people.) having sat up for hours taking apart the world and putting it back together again and finally we all realize we were talked out. I head downstairs to one of the guest rooms following my host, it is a lovely room with great views of the woods surrounding the house, very cozy.

Let me paint a picture here, to get to their house we turned off a two lane road onto an unpaved road, drove for about a mile, then made yet another turn onto an unpaved road and drove that maybe a quarter mile. So we are in the serious woods, the no-joke there-are-no-lights except- lightning bugs woods. If there was a neighbor, they'd only know you needed help by setting off flares. It was so deep in the woods that we were told if your house catches on fire, the firemen will come to make sure it doesn't spread but there are no fire hydrants to help put the fire out. Seriously, I can't make this stuff up.

Now, my hosts are both artists and arts management consultants. They travel all over, love good food, good friends, great wine, checking out arts and culture events, and good conversation. I suppose heading to the woods is a pretty effective way to shut out the world for awhile. It would have been peaceful for me too if I could just relax. But I digress. (I think there was something about being a black person in a formerly sundown county in the mountains of Georgia, in the middle of the night that kept me on alert.)

Okay, after being shown around the downstairs and where's where, and what's what, my host says, "Oh, just to let you know, no worries, we've taken care of the snake problem, and you may see a brown wood scorpion, if you do just step on it, they're about this big (makes a circle with her thumb and forefinger), but you're bigger, and if you see a spider, don't worry we haven't seen any brown recluse spiders."

My brain went into overdrive. Could I sleep in the car? It was three or four in the morning, the sun would be up soon, I wouldn't have to be in there too long. But suppose I have to go the bathroom, then I'd have to walk in the dark to get to the house? Oh no, that will not do. Yes, it was crazy thinking but, hey, snakes, brown wood scorpions, and spiders were violating my basic rule, creatures and critters outside.

It appears that when you build a house in the middle of the woods, you may know you own the property but the critters and creatures have called that little piece of heaven home a helluva lot longer. Eons maybe. You're just a squatter. They can't read the fine print, don't know anything about property lines, right of way, surveys, and deeds. You're in the way. If you leave a hole for them to crawl through, even the smallest, teensy tiny little crack, they consider it manna from heaven and an invitation to share quarters.

I went to bed that night determined that nothing short of a bomb was going to me get to put feet to floor until the sun was well and truly fully up, hanging big bold and golden in the sky for all to see, no diggity no doubt! That was the only night that I can remember ever not getting up for a midnight run. See what the thought of critters and creatures can do for you.

That morning after the sunlight hit me, I opened my eyes, put on my glasses and peered carefully, slowly around the room. Took a couple of books and threw them in the corners, then waited a couple minutes to insure that nothing moved, then I gingerly put my feet on the floor. I guess the critters got the message, there was a new sheriff in town.


  1. Snakes!
    I can take anything but snakes!
    Racoons, yes. Bears, maybe!
    I can see these creatures coming and God willing, avoid them.
    But snakes, spiders and scorpions are sneaky and violate your person before you know it.
    That includes bats!
    I'm glad you developed an understanding with those critters.
    From now on, you're the Critter Whisperer!

  2. But the woodland critters are your friends. The spiders and bats eat mosquitos so the mosquitos don't chew on you. Next time (I know, you're not planning on a next time, but just in case) you can put your slippers in bed with you so nothing crawls into them at night : )

  3. Keryl, Keryl, Keryl...You know you are funny to me!!! Wow...so you went willingly into the WOODS...willingly...and in your pursuit of all things artistic... you somehow maybe kinda sorta thought that critters weren't going to be an issue? LOL!!! Love it!!
    Do you remember that day we went walking on our property down in GTown some years ago with Daddy? And Tadao and I saw the snake raise it's head up from the underbrush and how we LEFT you, Harry and Daddy with the quickness? LOL...
    I don't do snakes!! lol...

  4. Funny, especially given the prior day's post. I a transplanted NY'er in FL so I totally understand. At least you have lightening bugs...

  5. Patricia, Florida? Oh no, you have the added problem of critters with big big teeth, and armadillo's and other things that should be left alone and to their own devices. LOL