Saturday, October 12, 2013


Here in the southeast, there is a bug for every season, I recently shared with M--a literal bug. Spring is the season for tick-abundance, and like freckle posers or ends-of-sentences they appear on your skin as if they can escape your constantly editing eye. Or else they burrow in the dogs and have a feast, dislodge themselves and waddle away, brainless and dumb, off to provide a feast for birds or, in a decidedly lesser contribution to the circle of life, a horrifying squish experience for your bare foot.

Summer is mosquitoes, wasps and, toward the end, deer flies. Itchy, oppressive and mean as the heat itself. You fight them with toxic sprays and swatting hands and running feet, but ultimately you just have to endure their existence until the cool arrives, providing them an expiration date and you a sigh of relief.

Fall brings the stink bugs, brown and shield-shaped, and seeking a warm home. In spite of their unfortunate name, I have yet to encounter the actual stink, perhaps because my research came to me in advance of any encounter and I know better than to kill them. I simply ferry them from their place on the curtains and walls and window screens back outside. To me, these are the least offensive of all the bugs, because they are just there. Hanging out solo or in groups. Minding their own business, not attacking, and maybe more importantly, not scurrying.

Which brings me to winter and the bugs that are not bugs - mice. Every year we have at least two, appearing for the same reason as their predecessors (warmth), but these I cannot abide. Perhaps they tap into my deep-seated anxiety toward balloons and biscuit cans: the element of suspense, surprise. Or else I'm intimidated by a cleverness and physicality that can lead them, in spite of blindness, toward the darkened depths not in, but behind, a dishwasher.

Are these creatures questionable mascots for each season, a reason to wish the time away? Or are they simply what is there, a defining attribute or buggy backdrop to the scene...

No comments: