Sticking points.


 A guy walks in the woods and gets burrs stuck to his legs. He winds up making millions because of it…

 ~ ~ ~

I wait all year for hard, cold weather when the woods and riverbanks can be bug-free. I went bushwhacking where I’d have been covered with mosquitoes in summer, but today it was okay.

Except I got cockleburs on my pants. And some smaller, meaner burrs that I don’t know by name. They’re all hard to pull off and can draw blood if you do it fast.

But bushwhacking is worth it.

After wading through knee-deep brush and burrs near the river I saw an American Woodcock. He didn’t fly, just waddled off.

Down by the river I saw a Belted Kingfisher working the water. He’ll stay until the river ices.

And I saw beaver sign: wood chips around gnawed trees. Made me think about A.B. Guthrie’s, “The Big Sky,” a great novel about beaver-trapping mountain men who went west during the 1840s.

About a hundred years later, in 1948, burrs interested the hiker and inventor, George de Mestral.

Intrigued because it was difficult to pull the damn things off his clothes, he studied them under a microscope.

Hooks and loops. Hmm. George then invented Velcro, and became rich.

On the way out of the woods I saw cold-weather robins, common now that our winters have become tentative. I saw titmice, nuthatches, juncos. The woodcock was the only eyebrow raiser.

No matter, it’s always good to get into the woods, away from human things. Especially now, when you can bushwhack. Although, there is the problem of nature’s Velcro to deal with: burrs.

I’m going to have a sticky time getting these little pricks off my clothes.

4 Responses to “Sticking points.”

  1. norm schaefer says:

    As a kid I ran through lots of Chicago ‘prairies’( actually weed filed vacant lots).
    Burrs were a constant companions. They stuck to everything, my Keds , Sears & Roebucks jeans and T-shirts. Raw hands were minor inconvenience compared to my Mom’s wrath had I not removed them……

  2. Two-Fisted Bird Watcher says:

    Jason—That’s about 97 times more than we’ve read it. But, way to go.

  3. Frank B. says:

    So many good things here. Woodcock. Beaver. But cockleburs. Come on! Who the hell even knows their name! I get these all over me and have looked on the internet for ways to get them off. Don’t bother. They are “little pricks” and you’re going to get pricked fingers. But it’s worth it. I saw a deer with these all over its legs and ears. That’s life, man.

  4. Jason Olmsted says:

    The Big Sky! One of my favorites. Bet I’ve read it a hundred times.