“It’s only the black ones that carry lime disease,” she tells me.
My step-mother and I are walking around the property she and my father recently bought to ‘get away from it all.’ It’s a forest of intertwining spruce trees, overgrown lichen and part marshland that runs from the road down to the rocky coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. I’m told there’s a beach. I’m also told there are ticks and for the last twenty minutes this hike has been mostly jerks and spasms. I’m quick about my legs and everything brown in contact with them. Did I mention I have brown skin? But my discomfort hasn’t been lost on my step-mother.
“They take their time,” she reassures. “They crawl around for a while before they nestle in.”
Crawl? To where?
“If you tuck your pant leg into your socks they can’t get up your leg.”
I start skipping because it means less contact with the ground but I’m not, it turns out, coordinated enough to execute this and remain on the path. So I’m landing in tall blades of grass, exactly what I shouldn’t be doing.
“If one burrows into your skin,” she adds, “ I know how to get it out so that the head doesn’t come off.”
“What happens if the head comes off?”
“Well..,’ she turns and looks at me. “It’s not good.”
Just another relaxing summer holiday, at the cottage, along remote shores of Nova Scotia. There’s no ticks in Toronto. Nothing like getting away from it all.