Ginger Martin's Blog



Me vs. the Gnats

I'm a big hiker. My goal is to visit all the state parks in Wisconsin, and I have a pretty good start. I love to venture into the woods and hear the birds and see the flora. But there is one thing I do not like about hiking in the woods. It's the bugs.

This past week, I went hiking with my niece at Blue Mounds State Park. One of the first things we did when we got there was climb the east observation tower. It is such an extraordinary view, and the breeze was lovely on what turned out to be a pretty humid day. While enjoying the view and the breeze, I noticed these black gnats starting to gang up on us. Gang up on ME, I should say. They were so small they looked like little black dots flying around, but they did some major damage. They became so thick we had to climb down the tower just to get away from them.

Well, during our hike my niece looked over at me and said, "Ummm….you have blood dripping down your neck." I reached up and touched my neck and when I pulled my hand away it was covered as if someone had sliced me open. Not only was I dripping blood from my neck but I noticed I had several large welts all over the back of my neck. The GNATS! Ugh.

I discovered that black gnats, when they bite you, inject an anti-coagulant so they can more easily get a meal. Hence the horror-movie scene in the middle of the woods. Who would have thought that a tiny speck of a bug could cause such damage? Let this be a lesson to you. Bug repellent. Have it handy every time you go into the woods. I know I will from now on. . . .

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Out With the Old

One of the things I did while I was on “staycation” was clean out my clothes closet. It’s a good thing to do every once in a while for many reasons: 
  1. It feels good to clean and purge. It gives you a sense of renewal.
  2. When you clean out your closet and donate your old items to a thrift store, you are helping the community.
  3. It can bring back fun memories.
  4. You can learn a lot about yourself by what you decide to keep or toss and WHY you want to keep or toss certain items.
  5. It might give your significant other more closet space that he/she may appreciate.    
  6. It gives you an excuse to go out and buy some NEW clothes.
  7. You can earn some extra money by taking clothes to a consignment shop.
  8. It may take you out of a bad past and bring you into a bright future. (see #1)
So, if you have an extra hour or two this weekend go ahead and take a look inside your closet. Pull out what no longer fits or what you haven’t worn in over two years and be free from that clutter. I found a 20-year-old blue flannel shirt that I LOVED but doesn’t fit anymore.  I cut the arms off and turned it into a nice cleaning rag. So, I still have the shirt but am now able to use it in a different way. That just feels good.      
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Spring Fever

Autumn is my absolute favorite season, but spring, for me, is a very close second. I remember the feeling of “spring fever.” It’s been a few years since I’ve experienced the phenomenon. But it’s a real and true thing that happens in March, April and May. The smell of the air, the sounds of the birds, the look of the sky, all are contributing factors to a strange sensation that overwhelms you with such a sense of pure joy and happiness. It’s hard to explain, this spring fever. If you’ve ever felt it, lived it, experienced it you know exactly what I’m talking about. It makes you want to take a deep breath and close your eyes and smile. It’s like an endorphin rush. It’s like being in love for the first time. And it’s all due to a change in season? I’m not so sure that it hasn’t to do with something more. I’ll have to research that.

As the years pass by, I have noticed that “special feeling” of spring tends to escape me now. I wish for it, I try to make it happen, but somehow I only can grasp a small sense of what it was. It makes me sad that I have a hard time capturing that feeling anymore.

But here is what I do know. It’s the flowers. The flowers of spring are what bring me to the edge of spring fever bliss. But not just any flowers. I’m talking about the wildly fragrant and carefree blooming spirits of lily of the valley and lilacs. Maybe it’s because my backyard was full of them when I was growing up, or maybe it’s because I have a melancholy nature and appreciate their beauty more than some. All I know is when my yard is blooming with lavender lilacs and tiny white, bell shaped flowers of the lilies I feel like I’m 20 years old again, and in love, and filled with spring fever joy.

There is a reason someone coined the phrase “stop and smell the roses.” I’d like to be the one to change that phrase to “stop and smell the lilacs” or “stop and smell the lilies.” I think it’s so much more poignant. Roses bloom through the summer. Lilacs and lily of the valley bloom for only a few short weeks of spring, but that's enough time to transport you to that place you were when you first experienced the joy and bliss of spring fever.

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