I rummage in the shed until I find the lawn & leaf bags. I step over the weed whacker and gas can and go back to the pile of leaves my husband created. While he edges a flower bed, I focus on bagging up the leaves.
I unfold the funneled cardboard guide that fits into the tall paper bags. I select a bag, shaking it open and fitting it over the cardboard structure. I feel the stickiness of a spider web on my arms and rub them on my sides to loosen it from my skin. It’s warm outside, and I lack full appendage coverage in shorts and a t-shirt.
Just as I move to flip the guide over to fill it with leaves, my arms feel itchy. I brush them off, but the feeling of something crawling on me grows. I scramble around, trying to brush off cobwebs and what must be ants off my arms. I can’t discern the difference between a mole and an ant at a glance in panic. I try to keep the image of a burst spider sac out of my mind.
My legs prickle, invaded. I fight the urge to roll around on the front yard to free myself of any bugs. I decide it’s time to get serious. I rush inside and liberate the eco-friendly can of ant spray from the cabinet.
I shake and aim at the cardboard. In the split second before I spray, I see a swarm of black ants covering the brown lawn bag. I grimace and release the ant-killing mist. The minty cloud envelops my limbs, and I linger in it.
“What are you doing?” my husband says, putting down his shovel.
“Killing ants,” I say, ready to start Round 2. He inspects the pile of bags and explains there are more bugs between each bag. I hand over the can and let him take a shot.
In a few minutes, the mist clears. I gather up my leaf pile and industriously stuff it into the cardboard funnel. I stop to itch my knee, a bug-free scratch. I keep calm and carry on.