On Spring and Blackflies

This time of year is one of my favorite times. As I drive along I point out [to whoever is unfortunate enough to be riding with me] every new flower and thawed lake and budding leaf. I start planning window-boxes and trips and summery salads to eat. I start thinking about dates to the ice-cream parlor and trips to the beach. I probably get a bit ahead of myself with my planning.

Going to work when it’s spring is ridiculous. I firmly believe that school should get out as soon as the leaves start to emerge and the flowers start to bloom. Once I don’t have to scrape ice off my window [or check the weather for a snow day announcement] school should start thinking about closing for the season.  When it’s sunny outside and stuffy in the classroom no one can get anything done. The students are lethargic, they beg to go outside for the last half-hour of the day and spend the whole afternoon anticipating the end of the day.

Unfortunately I have to go to work until midway through June. I will be there in body but considerably absent in spirit [I think Anne of Green Gables said that, I like to think I channel her sometimes]. I was going to suggest that we do some schoolwork outside, but have you ever seen a 2nd grade class outside? As soon as they smell the fresh air they burst toward the door with screams of glee [pushing one another out of the way as they sprint] and run around like crazy hoodlums until the last possible second when they are required to line up at the door. If I weren’t a teacher and didn’t have to maintain a certain level of decorum I would probably be fighting to be out the door first too.

It’s a great plan—getting out of school as soon as it’s spring. Except for one problem. One big, little problem. Blackflies. Currently, in Maine, as soon as you step out the front door blackflies swarm you as though there’s nothing else outdoors that they could possibly eat. While I wait for kids to line up to come inside I spend those few minutes doing the fly-swat dance. It’s a sort of wiggly arms, swing around, jump-up-and-down dance and if the kids saw me do it they’d probably point and laugh. Thankfully everyone else is too busy doing their own fly-swat dance to notice me.

So. Spring is awful inside because everyone wants to be outside. Spring is awful outside because of the blackflies. It’s a lose-lose situation.

I think I’d prefer to be outside, despite the flies, I could always wear one of those net-hat things. That would be ok. The kids would still take me seriously, right?


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