Friday, April 20, 2007

Season's Greetings!

I apologize from the get-go--this has nothing to do with health, diet or weight loss, except for a very tenuous tie to exercise at the end. But it's a facet of life in New Orleans that I feel I must share.

You know, most people have four weather seasons (spring, summer, fall, winter) and a number of holiday seasons (Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc.).

But we in New Orleans have four weather seasons (early summer, summer, hellacious late summer, and winter), a couple of extra holiday seasons (Mardi Gras, Jazzfest) and are fortunate enough to have a number of critter seasons as well, and we're in the middle of one right now.

No, it's not termite-swarming season. That starts in about a month, during which time all exterior -- and, if you're smart, most interior -- lights must be doused in order to prevent the huge hordes of madly swarming termites looking for new homes to visit yours.

What we're currently enjoying is Buckmoth Caterpillar Season. If you aren't lucky enough to live in a place with lots of oak trees where these critters like to live, let me tell you about them. They're big--about the size of a finger--and are covered with poisonous spikes. Even the slightest touch will cause you, the toucher, to have your affected body part puff up like a blowfish, turn red, and burn for hours. Some years, they are so bad that people walking down the sidewalks carry umbrellas because, yes, they fall out of the trees on your head and, believe me, this is not something you want to experience. My eldest furchild, Irish Terrier Shane, stepped on one last year and I thought she was dying. I know she stepped on it because I grabbed her up to see why she was crying and latched onto the darned thing myself. I also cried. We cried together. It was a bonding moment.

Buckmoth caterpillars do provide a great source of exercise, however, as they are very noisy and colorful when stepped on. There's an audible POP and then orange goop oozes out of their bodies while bright neon green seeps out of their heads. I believe my personal-best buckmoth-stomping record is 10 squishes in 30 seconds.

Think of it as a sub-genre of Buck dancing. With color.

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