Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Scrap of Rain

Thirty minutes after a rain shower mosquitoes are on the prowl in Oak Hill and a bright yellow, heavily scented wristband is coiled about my wrist as I sit on the screen porch pondering the backyard concert played by whistling birds, rasping grasshoppers and their buzzing cousins. The wristband is something called Insect Repelling Super Band and directions say, ‘Just slip it on wrist or ankle and enjoy a bug free day.’ In only ten minutes I’ve watched two different mosquitoes land on my arm a few inches from the wristband and casually begin searching for a vein. That said, it has a fragrance I really like that includes Philippine geraniol (geranium oil), Indonesian lemongrass oil and citronella. As pleasant as the fragrance is, when the third mosquito landed on my arm I added a spray of insect repellant to arms and neck. Since then I’ve been left alone.

Driving here earlier a fleeting sprinkle of rain made me hope—despite the mosquitoes—for my first thunderstorm in this setting. I imagined rain dripping from Spanish moss and frogs croaking in the joy of an afternoon deluge. But it was dry again when I drove through the gate and into the carport. Just as I began to unload the boxes and bags from the trunk, the rain started again but the covered pathway from carport to front door alleviated the problem of wet boxes. I got them inside and returned outside to enjoy the rain falling through layers of green, but it stopped in the space of three minutes. Not enough for me but apparently enough to stir the mosquitoes from their torpor.

Interesting discovery today. On my first occasion to use the bathroom for something other than washing my hands, I found the toilet to be rather like a highchair, a height that made me sit on tiptoe. You have to be over six feet if you’re planning on having feet flat on the floor while sitting on this grand throne. Otherwise, it’s an average appliance.

Received my first mail at the Oak Hill address today. Don’t know why I even bothered to look in the mailbox, but before turning onto my road I pulled up to the mailbox and was surprised to find mail. I’ve never before had one of the long, domed tin mailboxes with a little metal flag to signal mail. Must remember to take a picture of it. If anything ever epitomized rural, this mailbox is it, with its worn wooden post wreathed in weeds and the box itself creaky with rust.

Each day I feel a little more comfortable in Oak Hill, looking forward to the time when I don’t have to lock up and drive back to the beach for the night. Just two more weeks, but something tells me this slow transition to the rural is ultimately the better way of shifting my environment.


  1. As usual your post was informative as to your making the transition. I have a wonderful suggestion about keeping mosquitoes away....a solution I found to be great on the golf course with mosquitoes and no seems. Take a sheet of "Bounce" which are dryer sheets and put one in your pocket and let it hang out exposed and the insects will fly the other way.

  2. "I imagined rain dripping from Spanish moss and frogs croaking in the joy of an afternoon deluge." This sentence seems to relay the quiet comfort of your new home. When you do experience a thunderstorm and plenty of rain, the tin roof will be a rhythm of sound you will come to love. I highly recommend NIGHTS UNDER A TIN ROOF, Recollections of a Southern Boyhood by James Autry. Wonderfully evocative of the country life.

  3. Thank you very much for writing such an interesting article on this topic. This has really made me think and I hope to read more.
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About Me

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Oak Hill, Florida, United States
A longtime expat relearning the footwork of life in America