Not Eden Anymore | Outside My Window

At Cedar Creek Park, 20 April (photo by Kate St. John)

I remember a time in Pennsylvania when we could bushwhack through dense brush or lie down in a meadow without worrying about black-legged ticks and Lyme disease. In retrospect it seemed like Eden.

Nowadays we have to be careful, especially in May-August when the tiniest freckle-sized nymphs are active. Our best defense is to prevent ticks from getting on our skin. I’ve stopped bushwhacking and I don’t lie down in meadows to look at the sky.

Black-legged tick on a blade of grass (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Eden is over. These stanzas from Mark Doty’s poem, Deep Lane (Into Eden Came The Ticks), describe it perfectly:

Into Eden came the ticks,
princes of this world,
heat-seeking, tiny, multitudinous …

from Deep Lane, Into Eden Came The Ticks by Mark Doty

My husband Rick, a poet himself, recommends Mark Doty’s Deep Lane book (here on Amazon). You can read a bit more of the poem here.

(photo of early Spring in Cedar Creek Park, Westmoreland County, PA by Kate St. John, photo of tick from Wikimedia Commons; click on the caption to see the original)

p.s. Indeed the distribution of ticks in PA has changed a lot since 1900. There’s a new study, reported here