Tuesday, September 15, 2020


...being now certain to check in insides of my shoes...


I consider myself a welcoming sort.  What with wildfires and bad air and lock downs, I figure if someone needs shelter and I’ve got room, we’ll work something out.  Usually.


This particular Saturday night wasn’t usual.  Saturday was.  I’d spend an hour or so at the community garden and then came home.  I shucked my work boots off on the front patio and immediately carried them into the closet – which was kinda unusual – but that’s what I did.


I celebrated my volunteerism with a cold Scrimshaw lager and the requisite 20-minute nap such mid-day imbibement demands.  The afternoon would be spent reading or working on whatever writing project was at hand.  Light dinner.  Netflix movie.  All-in-all, a typical Clover Springs Saturday.


Until, while readying for bed, I turned on the hall light.


Scorpions (g. vejovis), like mosquitos, ticks, rattlesnakes, some politicians and so many other things found in nature, are ugly creatures that we may not fully understand.  Fossil records tell us that scorpions have been around for hundreds of thousands of years (will we?) They have a reputation for being venomous.  On-line sources tell us that there are several varieties roaming the planet and that they can be found on every continent except Antarctica.  (Right away I checked: There are no regularly scheduled, non-stop flights from Charles M Schulz Airport to anywhere in Antarctica by any major carrier.) Scorpions, in general, live in arid climes and like dark, cool places.  Their sting is about like that of a bee and they prey on insects, spiders and the like.  Should a scorpion bite or sting, the result will be painful but generally won’t kill anyone or even send someone to the hospital – although people with certain allergies are at greater risk.


That said, this fella’s unexpected appearance on the carpet did give my heart a jolt.  (Maybe that’swhat sends folks to the ER.) I’d not seen one in Cloverdale in our five years here, but folks on Next Door report that they’ve seen ‘um from time to time.  I’m thinking this one latched onto my boot at the garden and rode home with me.  


Steven – out of a sense of courtesy, I name all my house guests – crouched frozen as soon as the light clicked on.  I hadn’t yet checked on-line to determine the risks he might provide, but I did snap this picture with my handy-dandy iPhone.  Then, with a hand vac not equipped with a beater bar or impellers, I sucked him up.  It took a little doing because he latched himself onto the carpet pretty firmly.  Checking to see that Steven couldn’t escape, I placed the unit on top of one of the toters in the side yard as the darkness gathered.


Returning to the house, I did my research and mulled what to do.  Ultimately, I figured, he was no threat. Not being one who likes to kill bugs and critters, even those that might bite, the following morning I emptied the Dust Buster into our green waste bin.  I watched as Steven landed on a pile of yard detritus.  I know I saw about half of his 250 tiny eyes wink at me as he raised a claw and then burrowed into the verdant crud.  


Wednesday, he’ll enjoy a ride out of town courtesy of Recology Marin Sonoma.  That’s the something I worked out for our little house guest named Steven.




Note:  From Storer and Usinger in Sierra Nevada Natural History (University of California Press, 1963) page 172, we learn:


Scorpion. Vejevis.  L. to 2”; flattened; head region with 1 small pair of “jaws” and one pair of snout pincers on long jointed arms; thorax with 4 pairs of slender jointed legs abdomen narrowed into jointed flexible tail with “poison claw” at end; yellow or brown.  Distr.  Mostly at lower elevations on ground under logs or stones (or, apparently, in my closet).

            Scorpions hide by day and come out at night to feed on insects and small ground-dwelling animals.  Prey is caught on pincers, killed with the sting, and torn apart to eat.  Sting is painful but not dangerous to man.  Young are born alive and ride on the female’s back until their first molt.


(c) 2020

Church of the Open Road Press

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