James Russell Lowell (1818 to 1891) was the American poet best known for, “And what is as rare as a day in June.” The term “rare” is often used by poets from Lowell to Shakespeare to mean “fine”, that is, good. In Lowell’s poem The Vision of Sir Launfal, Lowell prattles on about perfect days with green grass and giddy flitting critters. He celebrates “dandelions blossoming” and “happy creatures” visiting us in droves. Apparently he was not visited by Southern Indiana’s Buffalo Gnats, giant mosquitoes and a spouse who views the appearance of June as the starting gate for indentured servitude by husbands.
I dread June each year because I know Peg is convinced Mother Nature’s sole purpose for me is to spend June battling vicious insects while doing yard work and cleaning out our nine year old above ground pool.
This past weekend while I sat in repose on our three-season porch drinking coffee Peg announced, “Jim, it is June (I knew that) and the gods ordain the pool must be opened.”
I responded, “Uh.”
Peg was already gathering gloves and Clorox and stiff brooms. I felt my entire summer oozing away in the sludge of a winter’s worth of slime that had accumulated in the pool.
About the only pleasure I received was my stifled glee when Peg raised the trash can I had placed over the pool’s pump and a Tyrannosaurus rex disguised as a mouse jumped out. That’s the highest I had ever seen Peg jump until about ten minutes later when as we pulled off the plastic pool cover a spider the size of a saucer scurried past her hand.
I looked at the dark goo in the pool and suggested either the EPA and/or NSA should be notified. It looked to me as if the release of the frightening biosphere contained in the bottom of the pool might need disinfectant that only our federal government has access to.
After two gallons of Clorox and an hour of scrubbing the cover and the pool with a stiff broom Peg mercifully announced we would have to allow the sun to cure what diseases we had been unable to eradicate. She also suggested we would be able to swim in this one-time cesspool next week. Not so fast say I.