These days, the seconds no more tick away than the hours slip through the narrow part of an hourglass, but as the weather turns warmer and the days get longer, there's ever more reason to spend more time outside and that time is marked by different kinds of ticks.
Yes, the tick tock of the clock has been largely replaced by the silence of a digital display, but no matter how much time passes, ticks continue to loom large over time spent enjoying the wild places.
Years ago when I was a kid, the main reason to worry about ticks was an infection called
In those days, we kids were regularly pulling ticks off ourselves, our
We'd all heard stories about someone's uncle's friend or second cousin's co-worker who'd been infected, but in my circle of associates, there was no firsthand experience of Rocky Mountain spotted fever. I came to believe you needed to visit the Rocky Mountains and be bitten by a tick there if you really wanted to be infected with the spotted fever and find out about the spots.
My friend, Tommy, and I became fairly cavalier about ticks, having regular contests starting each March to see who could collect the most ticks during a day in the woods. Some days we'd get more than a dozen each, with most being removed before they actually had a chance to bite.
It all seems innocent enough, but these days I cringe when I think of the old tick contests and my naivete about those revolting little beasts, which I've long presumed were among the first things out of Pandora's box.
Flash forward 20 years and, being someone who spends a lot of time outside, I started hearing about
Anyway, I foolishly presumed Lyme disease would be like the Rocky Mountain spotted fever of my youth, something you hear about but never experience except by third-hand stories.
Boy was I wrong. Lyme disease is about as unpleasant as anything I've ever experienced, worse than a
Years later, we have the occasional amusing conversations about the experience, made possible by being fortunate enough to have been treated before any serious long-term damage was done, though a joke sometimes made by wife is that there was plenty of long-term damage done to my thinking abilities.
As is the case with many bad experiences, it has become possible to look back on Lyme disease with a comic eye, but even if it turned out to be the source of a thousand new jokes, I wouldn't go through the experience again. It was horrific, and I've since read about Rocky Mountain spotted fever and a dozen other diseases carried by ticks and many are equally horrifying. From what I've read, Rocky Mountain spotted fever involves an unpleasant rash that shows up as spots, though they do go away when the disease passes.