The snow is gone; the sun is out; the trees start to bloom and, over all, it is just a wonderful time to be alive.
There is, however, one small drawback to spring: the return of bugs.
The winter months, while cold, are a bug-free environment, devoid of the nasty, little critters that go into stasis until it is time to re-awaken and scare the snot out of me once again.
During the winter, I forget what it is like to have a creepy, buzzing, insect fly into my hair (what little of it I have) and twist around to get free.
This instantly and without fail causes me to thrash wildly as I try to get the vermin off my head lest I do something in my trousers I have not done since I was a small child.
In case you haven't guessed, I don't like bugs.
When I was a young lad, bugs did not bother me a bit. I used to catch them, hold them in my hands and, in general, I was at one with the insect. But the older I got, the less I liked them.
My first bug encounter of this year involved some sort of flying beast.
It was a cross between an ant and a pterodactyl, only bigger and scarier.
It landed on the back of my neck and threatened to work its way down the back of my shirt.
Without thinking, my ninja-like reflexes grabbed the winged horror. It squirmed between my finger and thumb and I almost – almost – screamed like a small, frightened girl.
As soon as I clamped down on the unholy abomination, my mind started to race.
First, I was amazed at how big this thing was. Shouldn't it just be a tiny little insect at this time of year?
This monstrosity was a full grown bug.
And whenever there is an encounter with a bug of any kind, the question looms: what kind of bug is it?
If you ask entomologists, they will say there are millions of types of bugs out there. I am not a bug expert, but I can tell you that there are only two types of bugs in the this world – ones that will hurt you and ones that won't.
I did not know what type of bug this was.
Was it the kind with a giant stinger, or pincers, or a knife — or a gun? Who knows?
Or was it one of those friendly, Disney type bugs that instead of hurting you becomes your adorable little friend?
I did not know and as I felt the beast try to get free from my grasp I waited for the pain. The searing, instant pain that only an evil bug can deliver.
All these thoughts tore through my semi-panicked mind in a nano-second. Time slows down when you are in great peril and holding some form of nasty bug between my fingers was great peril indeed.
As I pulled my hand away from my neck I looked at the critter and saw this brownish-red head with huge eyes looking at me.
However, there was no pain, so either I had it in such a hold it could not unleash its insect fury or it was one of those friendly bugs.
With reflexes that would make Chuck Norris look like a sloth on Valium, I threw the offending beast to the ground only to watch it spread it massive wings and soar away, blocking the sun as it passed.
I still don't know what kind of bug it was, and to tell you the truth I don't really care.
I survived my first up-close-and-personal contact of 2017 with an insect.
But if this is a sign of things to come, it's going to be a long summer.
Copyright 2017, Darren Handschuh