Who am I kidding; did I really think I can do this? Of course, I love being outside. There is swimming and boating and gazing at sunsets and watching birds and fireflies and cooking marshmallows in bonfires. But wait. There are no bonfires or marshmallows at my Master Naturalist meetings. I thought we were going to get together and have some outdoor fun, gaze at a sunset, peer into nests, drink a few beers and talk about our last hiking adventure. It looks like they are asking me to do work. I think I’m now certified to do work! They want me to weed the forest, pull up undesirable trees, plant some plants… this looks like work to me! And it’s so hot! The sweat is pouring down my back. I never used to sweat when I was having “fun”. I would even brag about not being a person who sweats. Even dirt gets stuck on the sweat on my face and it looks like I’m engaging in jungle warfare. I can’t even go to the bathroom because my clothes are wet with sweat and stuck on me. And where are the bathrooms? Maybe I can still be a naturalist from some place that has air conditioners and bathrooms. I will try and scope out those places.
And what about my hair? No one told me that my hair would be a hazard outdoors. It gets caught up in every low hanging branch that manages to yank you back to point zero . How do you look cool as you detangle your hair from an American Holly tree? Just smile and act like you meant to do that. Maybe no one will notice. After that you walk around with a small stick in your hair that no one tells you about. It might as well be a log or a bone like Pebble Flintstone wears in her hair. Sometimes I find things in my hair and I don’t even know what it is. I guess as long as it’s not moving, I’ll be ok. Maybe I’ll learn how to identify it in one of my classes.
And then there are the bug bites. A warning would have been nice or even a recommendation for a spray of some kind. The last time I went into the woods I brought back a souvenir of 17 red bug bites. You know that it’s a red bug bite because it NEVER stops itching. The ones in the crotch itch more than all the others and are more intense when you are at a board meeting or talking to the police. Maybe we should have been studying all the hazards in the woods in our first Master Naturalist class instead of talking about how much “fun” we were going to have. Don’t you start learning about hazardous situations even in kindergarten like don’t step on snakes and poke wasps with a stick? Well I think learning that you should wear panty hose in the woods to prevent red bugs should be the first thing they teach you. Yes, that prevents red bug bites but only up to the point where the panty hose ends. Those bugs are smart enough to know how to crawl right past the waist band and feast on your stomach. At least scratching there is a little more presentable than your crotch. I’m hoping I can find a set of pantyhose that reaches to my neck, then maybe I’ll be safe from at least one of the many hazards that they are not telling me about.
Signed the UnNaturalist
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