Up in the Hollow: Spring has arrived, not giant snails  

You think we’ve got problems around here? Check out this recent lead paragraph from Reuters News Service: “South Florida is fighting a growing infestation of one of the world’s most invasive species: The Giant African Land Snail, which can grow as big as a rat and gnaw through stucco and plaster.” (We should note here that much of Miami is built of stucco and plaster.)

The story goes on: “In some Caribbean countries, such as Barbados, which are overrun with the creatures, the snail’s shells blow out tires on the highway and turn into hurling projectiles from lawnmower blades, while their slime and excrement coat walls and pavement.”

This is a distraction, of course, from the fact that the Florida Everglades are filling up with 15-foot-long Burmese pythons. Sometimes these hungry newcomers share the swimming pools of the Sunshine State with angry alligators and those ever-vicious Florida hanging chads.

And how about Australia?! While people here in Rappland kvetch about invasions of those cute little ladybugs and those over-friendly stinkbugs, Aussies face crocodiles, giant spiders that eat birds, those killer jellyfish and the occasional fire tornado. And, oh yeah, they’ve got even bigger Giant African Land Snails. Crikey!

So count your blessings, my fellow Rappahannockians. Why should we complain about a few billion little insects? After all, it is great exercise trying to keep up with them all day long every day. Bugzooka patrol is about the only exercise I get anymore.

But never mind. We’ve got springtime at last in the Southern Part of Paradise. The daffodils are popping up everywhere, the willows are waving hello, the white pear trees stand proudly about, the dogwoods are budding and blossoming, the forsythia overlooks the tulips, there is water in the rivers, blue skies are smiling at us once again, and I have run out of things to say for a while. Rejoice.