well shave my head
Tuesday, October 31 2006
I was walking the dogs back homeward on the Stick Trail this morning, and as I approached its intersection with the Chamomile Headwaters Trail, I saw something clearly unnatural strung out along the forest floor. It was a dashed white line running perpendicular to the trail. So I walked over to see what it was. It turned out to be something I haven't had to see in my forest walks since leaving Brooklyn: toilet paper (or, as it's pronounced in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, "toal paper"). Each piece was six to eight feet long and besmirched with a small marking of fecal brown near one end. Aside from the nature-alienation implicit in carrying a roll of toilet paper this far into the woods, the sheer wastefulness of using so much toilet paper for such little hygiene was something I took as a boneheaded desecration of this spot. As I used a stick to wind up the toilet paper and consolidate it under a pile of other sticks, Sally walked up and quickly found the grand prize, out of which she was able to snatch a large mouthful before I chased her away. I wouldn't be letting her kiss me for the rest of the day.
As I walked down towards the farm road on the Chamomile Headwaters Trail, I found myself thinking angry thoughts about all hunters. All of them are, to some extent, in the forest to indulge their greed. They come to take and for this they offer nothing in return except random death, pollution, and loud noises. We shouldn't be surprised when they trash the forest, because their relationship with it is completely parasitic. Actually, I take that back, the hunter who had crapped near the Stick Trail had made his small contribution, all of which was ultimately biodegradable. There isn't much soil in these forests, and what little there is lacks nutrients. Every pile of feces, no matter how chock full of hormones, mercury, and sulfites it may be, gets used by the thankful plants and animals of the forest.
The day ended up being an unseasonably warm one, the perfect conditions for cutting wood out in the garage and then cutting something else in desperate need of the swipe of a blade: my hair. I ended up shaving it all off right down to my scalp. This was the first time I'd ever cut my off all my hair. It gave me something of a shock when I finally saw what I looked like in the mirror. At first I didn't know if I was going to like it but then I decided I actually looked okay as a bald man. Gretchen's reaction was similar, although to her shaved heads always suggest a concentration camp denizon, an image further augmented by the fact that I was wearing one of my favorite striped shirts. She actually had to touch up my trim job, which had left tufts in places and even scattered unplanned peyes around my ears.
Just in case I end up getting Lyme disease, I should mention that I pulled three ticks out of my skin this afternoon. Usually I get them before they embed, but for some reason I was a little slow today.
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