Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Tick to Ride

This week, I picked a tick off of the head of the 2 yo I babysit. It was my first tick removal of the spring. Either I'm a bit out of practice or this little bloodsucker was particularly embedded, but I managed to lose its legs in the process. Maybe because this wasn't one of my children, I was more nervous about hurting her while yanking it out. It didn't help that it had found a cozy spot in her hair. It was very hard to use the tweezers without taking a small clump of her hair out in the process.

All of this activity made me wax philosophical. What can we learn from a tick? Here we have a very simple creature whose mission in life is to feed off of other creatures. They are as slow moving as a turtle, smaller than a sunflower seed, and yet they can strike terror in our hearts. Last summer Chase had Lyme disease thanks to a tick and that is only one of many diseases they can carry. It was not easy for me to find some positive life lessons from a parasite, but since I love a challenge...

Consider the tick's methodical nature. It doesn't rush through life. Like a pilgrim seeking enlightenment, it carefully climbs up grass or other vertical obstacles and stays perched at the summit, waiting with uplifted arms for the hot breath or warm flesh that signals sustenance for the tick. When it senses life, it reaches out and grabs hold.

But the tick does not feed yet. Instead, it searches for the perfect spot. Someplace warm, where it can leisurely settle in and drink deeply. It may spend another day in search of perfection. I wonder how long that is in tick years? Think about this! All it has to do is sink in as soon as it makes contact with skin, but it would rather wait until it is in the best possible place!

And so, another lesson for my series, You can learn a lot by watching animals:

Search for your perfect niche, then dig in.

Author's note: I was certain I would find a tick to photograph, since we were at the nature center twice this week, but the little buggers have proven elusive. I will update with a picture soon.


ComfyDenim said...

I like your "moral of the story" about digging in.... but Please don't include a picture.



Inner Elder said...

Love your meditation on the tic - they are not unlike surfers in their patient quest for perfection. Also reminds me of the lessons I learned in humility from the fleas.
Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

Ew. I hate to admit it, but you make a good point. ;)
(house of pink)

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