Humid

A spider has spun a web across the end of the walk, blocking my only way out. As if the weather weren’t already sticky enough!

I notice a wide strip of bark draped over the lowest limb of a dead elm at the edge of the woods, like a towel on the arm of a washroom attendant. It has rained every day and almost every night for more than a week, including last night while the spider wove its net. We retreat between the curling covers of paperback books, barely stirring for hours except to turn the damp pages.

I feel something crawling across my belly and lift my shirt: a small earthworm gropes its way through the forest of hairs. Son of a bitch, I mutter, stepping outside to toss it into the garden. I don’t sleep well in this kind of weather, but that’s no reason for my bad dreams to come to life. It’s as if they, too, are sticky and won’t let go.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

17 Comments


  1. Nothing dries here. Not the bath towels, not the sweat on by brow (to name the most polite place). I do not want to close things up and turn on the artificial atmosphere.

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    1. That’s not an option here. But it hasn’t really been too hot here yet, except for a couple of days. So really I shouldn’t complain.

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  2. Thank you Dave. one point of your evocative and wry poem was the cloying way that bad dreams have of sticking to you, but I related to its atmosphere. St. Louis has no official spring weather, but jumps nimbly from cold and damp to boiling in a heatbeat. I too saw a worm yesterday, but he was panting. I wrote you a poem.

    Ain’t the Heat . It’s the Humidity

    Glory be to God for ‘lectric things
    For fans that stir air with tripartite wings
    And blow where proper breezes can’t get in
    Where there’s no proper pond in which to swim

    For hairdryers when hair is dank or wet
    When nothing can relieve the sodden sweat
    For whole house ‘Air’ if this one can afford
    For anything for which there is a cord

    For microwave which cuts out oven heat
    For T.V. without which I’m not complete
    But most for this computer where I gain
    True joy from nature but without the pain

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    1. Thanks, Joan! Fun poem, and a good reminder of how things are in places that really get hot. You do realize, however, that Gerard Manley Hopkins must be turning in his grave right now….

      When we do get a heat wave here – usually just a week or two out of the year – we retreat to the basement of my parents’ house. I also have a laundry room that stays pretty cool, though I don’t have internet access there.

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    2. By the way, my post wasn’t a poem, but straight nonfiction. I really did pluck an earthworm off my belly this morning.

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  3. Shudder. Man am I glad to be here, where if there’s water in the air it just falls out!

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  4. Sorry about the poem/prose blunder. I should have checked and I goofed. Tis your own fault, however as your prose leans toward the poetic.

    As for Gerard, I imagine the mighty Elizabethan earthworms have long taken care of any rotating he might be doing in his grave. (grin)

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    1. I had tried briefly to work some sort of corpse reference into my piece, but it didn’t fit…

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  5. It’s pretty bad down here in Virginia too — I went walking the local trails last week, and it was like a sauna under the trees.
    No indoor earthworms in my apartment, though. ;-)

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  6. I was wondering if the earhtworm on the belly was real or one of those Bontaesque nightmare things like the finger-eating shrew…

    Yuk!

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    1. Cool! Never read that story before. Quiroga was just a name to me, I’m afraid.

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  7. It’s been raining here for days on end.
    I’ve been trying to get a lot of stuff done
    around the house and yard before putting
    the farm for sale.
    However, everything is getting so soggy
    that it’s all becoming rather futile.
    Looks like I may as well just list the place,
    then jump in my van to drive away
    to points as yet unknown.
    Finding that earthworm sounds just about
    as would be expected around here these days.

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  8. Dave, you can keep that rain. I don’t want any part of it though I fear I will be receiving my portion soon enough.

    Reply

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