Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer is Here!

After the 40 days and nights of gloom, greyness, and rain, Portland has some sunshine! I am excited beyond description: I want to camp, I want to run, I want to bike, I want to live!

After all the rain, the slugs have been popping up like mushrooms... after rain. It seems like every time I come outside in the evening, there is an awful monster, getting ready to strike at me, should I step in his (or her) way to my daisies. I have seen slugs that most of you only dream about! Well, hopefully your dreams are more pleasant than those of ugly slugs, but the point is that I have encountered some very interesting and intimidating slugs lately.

So I have been slug hunting after dark, armed with a flashlight and enough salt to pickle 20 big barrels of tomatoes (yes, I like pickled tomatoes). The ones I see at night are usually your common garden variety brown, boring slugs. The one that traumatized me appeared in the day light, which I thought was strange.

It was approximately six inches long and about an inch in diameter, with a very peculiar color pattern. Well, you can see in the picture above, which I took of him before his demise. I think it was the Slug King himself. Don't you? I mean, look at him! Or maybe it was their Queen... I don't know. How does one tell what gender this piece of rubbery slime is? Really, if you know, please tell me. Do they even have genders?

But I digress. After measuring and documenting my find, I emptied a lot of salt on it. I was told that all it needed was a sprinkle of salt, but I was skeptical of that advice. The King/Queen looked far too intimidating and aggressive for only a sprinkle. Well... It is gone now. Rest in Peace, slug royalty.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What to make of it all...

I run up the dimly lit stairs, past the mail boxes on my right, to the second floor. I pause in front of the leather encased door to flat No. 12 and with a sinking feeling in my stomach listen for any sounds. All is quiet. I open the door and step into a long corridor with very high ceiling. The telephone on a hanging shelf on my right, coat closet on the left; splatters of dried blood on the old wood floor and on the white door to a bedroom.

I carefully step past that, trying not to make any noise, and go into my bedroom, which is a large room, rounded on one end, with a big west facing window. The window is open and evening summer air is filling my lungs. The room is empty. Only movement is the reddish orange squares of the sunset lit window reflecting on a beige wall.

I go to the window and look outside. Two giant birch trees stand still. The metro station is also silent. There are no people outside. The orange city buses are not moving. I smell the musty wood floors and hear them whine under my feet as I shift my weight. I suddenly realize that I am alone. There is no wind, no birds, no people, no bugs, and there is no God. The silence is pressing on me, the weight of it is becoming unbearable and I want to cry.

“Ok, Natasha… Time to turn over…” I hear my massage therapist, and am grateful to feel human hands on my back. And I'm ok again.