July 15, 2011


Almost everyone knows Robert Frost’s poem, “Mending Wall.”  In it he repeats a warning refrain:

                         “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

                         That wants it down.”

Good fences may make good neighbors but not to the billions of earth’s inhabitants. Each summer I’m invaded by ants and wasps and other flying creatures that want to make a home within my cozy walls. They must be routed out with a fierce determination as reason holds no sway over them. In the fall, the spiders begin their search for a winter habitat. They particularly like my basement though I have dusted and cleaned with a vigilance that would make a hospital proud. Still they come season after season, ignoring the whiff of bleach in the air.

Besides these insects, crows abide in every tree, making harsh cawing sounds whenever I enter or exit my Victorian home. They seem to think I am the invader.  Recently, the man who came to clean my gutters remarked on their presence. I told him there were so many crows I couldn’t stop thinking about Alfred Hitchcock’s menacing film, “The Birds.The workman shook his head. Hitchcock got it wrong, he said. In Indian lore crows carry lost souls to the nether world and tend to cluster around people who have some connection with spirits.   

“You mean me?” I squeaked as I pointed a finger at my chest. “You,” he nodded soberly.

Unnerved by his observation, I waited until the workman drove away. Then I stepped on to my porch and shook my fist at the chorus of crows over head.  “Listen, I’ll stop complaining about the insects but don’t you dare bring me any ghosts!”

They must have heard me because they fell silent, watching as I slammed my screen door. 

(photo: YahooImages)