Where to start? It has been some time since I sat down to really write a decent letter, and since we have been out of contact for a couple of months now, I find myself unsure what you might know or not. I suppose the elephant in the room is best addressed first. I do not know what has happened that I cannot receive letters to my tumblr any more, but apparently it has been going on for a while. I tried sending one from Sarah’s to my own and that didn’t work, so I have to wonder if nothing has been getting through? When next I have internet, I will attempt to clean out the message folder, perhaps it is just out of space? I do not know if that can happen, but I want to know that I did all I could to get back in touch again. I worry things have changed and I am unwelcome quantity in your life now, but I will try to remain positive and hope that is not the case. Last that we spoke I had suggested making contact via facebook finally, but I have intentionally held off on that for fear of being a problem to you ignorant of what might be going on. I have also held off on going anywhere that I might run across you for similar reasons. I know you had said that a “public” meeting might be best before the facebook contact, but not knowing anything, I fear taking any action. Hopefully at some point things will clear up and this time of missing you will come to an end. I am trying very hard to put into practice what you taught me to keep my chin up and keep moving forward with the better hopes in mind, but it is hard some days. I just live with a certain level of fear that you simply decided me not worth the trouble and moved on with all the friends you already have in life.

Well, on the good side of things, we finally have a “real” job and are better able to put back money and take care of ourselves. I am still the stay at home dad while Sarah has taken on a mid level position at Home Despot. The pay isn’t exactly amazingly huge, but when you have had to be satisfied with next to nothing, a regular paycheck is amazing. We have also gotten back into the parks doing camp hosting, so now we have no rent payment, free electric, free water, etc. Between my doing that and keeping our costs down, and her having a fairly good paying job, we are finally getting a decent leg up on things. With a little luck, we will be able to save up for our own place within a year or two. Might take longer, probably will, but at least we are able to enjoy ourselves a little more than we were capable of. We may also be in the works of being on in the parks year round, rather than just the summers. I guess we have proved capable enough to keep on during the winters and summers. The system is changing a little bit, and a lot of the ancient camp hosts that were doing the job either can’t keep up, or the higher ups were wanting to drum them out anyway for being less and less capable. I was amazed that a couple of them came back this year, considering their ill health. One old bird is so badly diabetic and crusty that she is mostly homebound, and watching her husband try to push a mop is akin to a collection of toothpicks making a valiant effort to not to break apart doing the job. So things are looking up, even if not yet quite what we would want. Making a new life takes time and effort, right?

I have begun to collect a small number of plants again, and am still in awe of how easy it is to grow things here.  The single orchid that I had when we moved down here has easily doubled in size, which is amazing in and of itself, but when one considers it was near death’s door when we moved, it becomes all the more shocking of a thing. I am constantly surprised by the weird things I see just popping up out of the ground here and there as I explore the area. In the camp we are in now, there are at least two orange trees that have just popped up around the campsites where someone dumped a peal or something. I really wonder what I can create down here with such an amazing environment to work with?

I miss you. I hope to hear from you again someday.

I know what you would say about any sort of talk about giving up, so I won’t.  I’ll keep trying and hoping. I see your tumblr is working again after weeks down. I hope things are all ok. Much has changed for us, mostly for the better. I will explain sometime if I ever get the chance.

If you ever see this, I am trying to get in contact again… I guess things are going wrong somewhere, or maybe you just have some problems on your end…? I don’t know. Just miss you still and hope I didn’t do something horribly wrong. Sorry if that is the case.

I am so tired. Fuck it all, there just is no happiness for me in this life.


Wonderful Creatures: meet the beetle-riding arachnid

Without wings, smaller terrestrial animals are really restricted when it comes to moving long distances to find new areas of habitat. However, lots of species get around this problem simply by clinging on to other, more mobile animals. The common, yet overlooked pseudoscorpions are among the most accomplished stowaways, one of which (Cordylochernes scorpiodes) has forged a fascinating relationship with the harlequin beetle, a large, strikingly colored insect.

This story begins on a dead fig tree in the neotropical rainforest. Inside these trees, the larvae of the harlequin beetle feed on the decaying wood. Scuttling around on the tree are pseudoscorpions feeding on other small arthropods which they dispatch with their venom-dispensing pincers. These arachnids are most at home in newly decaying trees and after a while their habitat usually becomes less suitable, but how are they to find a new place to live?

Fortunately, the solution to their problem is beneath their feet. The harlequin beetle larvae have completed their development and are ready to emerge as adults from the tree. As soon as an adult beetle has fully emerged from its larval tunnel, the pseudoscorpions gather around its rear end and nip its abdomen with their pincers. Annoyed by these pinches, the beetle flexes it abdomen, making enough space beneath its elytra and wings for the little arachnids to jump aboard. This is where it gets really interesting as not all the pseudoscorpions freely embark. One of the larger male pseudoscorpions will prevent other males from boarding the beetle, but will happily allow females on, in the hope of mating with them before they reach their destination. Think of it like a romantic cruise.

In total, there may be more than 30 pseudoscorpion passengers on one beetle. The beetle takes off from the tree that nurtured it, along with its arachnid stowaways. Eventually, the beetle will land on a suitable, newly decayed tree and the female passengers will disembark. But the large, male pseudoscorpion may remain aboard its beetle for as long as two weeks in the event of more females clambering aboard when it touches down elsewhere. These long-term passengers don’t want to fall off prematurely so they spin silken ‘safety harnesses’ that eventually become little nest-like structures. They even use a silken thread to descend from their beetle and may even use this line as a means of re-boarding the transport if they need to.