Taryn Lawson

Artists of all sorts — writers, musicians, painters — draw inspiration from the springtime. Fine, it’s beautiful out there, what with all the colors: dozens of different greens, the pinky-lavender of those redbud trees, pops of construction-cone orange here and there... It also offers ample opportunity to comment on themes like renewal and rebirth, and create so-so metaphors the individual artists themselves can be really, really enthused about.

But, as we hear again and again, there are two sides to every story. Consider these contrasting takes on spring:

”If people did not love one another, I really do not see what use there would be in having any spring.” — Victor Hugo, “Les Miserables”

And in this corner, weighing in at 200 pounds according to a cursory Google search...

”When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits.” — Ernest Hemingway, “A Moveable Feast”

As a native Arizonan, I’ve written a fair amount on the Midwestern winter, primarily because in the midst of one, nearly all of my attention is focused on surviving it. This is why I can still appreciate the beauty of spring, despite the loathsome existence of the house centipede.

When Hemingway said, “...there were no problems except where to be happiest,” I’m not sure if it’s that he’d just never seen one of these things, or...? Since moving here, I’ve said several times, “You have more bugs in Ohio, but in Arizona, ours were worse, nastier.” In those arid conditions, you don’t have masses of bugs and insects everywhere; you have a few bugs and insects, they’re hamburger-sized, and they will take you down.

Around these parts, though, when things come alive, they really come alive, don’t they? Which is wonderful, I just want to see it all unfold outside of my house.

There are two major problems with the house centipede — along with an assortment of minor ones — and both are evident right there in its name. This is a creature defined by a presence somewhere I don’t want it to be, and further, it’s one with too many legs.

See, I’m having a bit of a bug problem this spring, my first, and I should start by saying, it’s all my fault. This winter, I decided to take on a “bedroom makeover,” which I did, and all was well, for a time.

Inside my room, inside my closet, there was a door with a crack in the glass, just large enough to provide ingress for any pea-sized thing that wanted in. All winter long, all that wanted in was a trickle of cold air. No biggie. I’d fix it.

Anyway, I painted, hung twinkly lights, made a mental note to fix the door. I picked pillows and exposed brick — the fun stuff — then reviewed that mental note about the door. I selected some greenery, hung new curtains... But the door, it was left unattended, because door-buying is no fun, it’s the pits...you can’t even see the darn thing, and also, I forgot about it.

But spring came, and so did the bugs — not centipedes, if there’s a silver lining here, but I don’t think there is — right into my nice, new room, and I’ll sum up a week of everything from abject terror to strained family ties by saying: I’m dealing with it. It’ll get resolved.

But to me, the neglected door was a (so-so) metaphor for all the less-than-savory things that, sure, we can avoid, but really shouldn’t, like flossing, and cardio. Just wait until those come to collect! At least I got a lesson out of this, given it’ll be a bit before I’ve worked up the fortitude to lounge in my room again...

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