Ever since I first heard Neil Young sing with Crosby, Stills, and Nash--before he was part of the group, one night at a concert, I've loved the man's voice. I don't have favorite albums or songs; what I like to hear shifts with my moods. What I hear, changes my moods. Sometimes, I'll listen over and over to one song, especially if driving alone. Prairie Wind is my current well-worn CD. Sometimes, I sing along with Neil and it lifts my spirits or makes me think of friends, my father, my youth.

So if I were Jason Bond, a university professor of biology or Norman I. Platnick, from the American Museum of Natural History in New York and I were to receive grant money from the National Science Foundation to classify trap-door spider species, thus adding to the Tree of Life Project, I also might name the new species after my beloved Neil Young, although not for his lyrics on peace and justice.

However, since I'm not either of these men and have had absolutely no personal experience with these southern spiders, I'll stick to what I do know about brown recluse spiders. Though we live in the northeast, about 20 years ago one step-daughter visited during Christmas from Kansas. My older son who was then four woke up with a large bite that quickly festered.

The pediatrician blamed it on the YMCA (which we didn't belong to, nor had we gone there). The dermatologist kept taking samples and sending them who-knows-where. Meanwhile, another small volcano-like sore erupted. My husband and I went to libraries, finally finding information on brown recluse spider bites. We went back to the pediatrician who advised us to go to a specialist. The specialist turned out to be an aging cosmetic surgeon, with shaking hands, who took photos and asked permission to document the case. He recommended immediate surgery after explaining how the venom spreads, killing the tissue. He used the word necrotic and we set the date. The surgery went well and to this day my son is asked about the large jagged scars on his wrist. After hearing it was from a spider bite, people invariably are shocked, asking "how big was the spider?"

As for my choice if I were Jason Bond, it would be for any and all of Neil Young's songs about life and love, the moon and rust. I would chose the moon because it's always there yet always changing. And rust is harder to explain, other than I enjoy finding old rusty things. Enjoy is too mild a word; it's a deep delight as if I've discovered a pirate's treasure or a dinosaur bone. I've never been able to adequately explain my love of rust, other than to make rust gardens, and put rusty fragments into sculptures, then donate them, sell them, or give them away.

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