I only have about 15 minutes today, so this will be short and sweet (like nectar … or blood, which for purposes of this account, is nectar). And yes, you’ll see a theme of sorts — albeit unintentional — between this week’s piece and last week’s.
The summer’s last drops of blood dripped out of me Sunday, or at least I hope they did.
That’s not me melodramatically telling you that summer is over in that melancholy way so many people do where I live, a place where the snows of winter are coming. Nor is it me complaining that my summer sucked because neither is true. It was – and still is for a while yet anyway – a fantastic summer.
But what is true is that, while I was enjoying some outdoor time with friends on Sunday as part of a summer still very much in progress (albeit rapidly approaching its post-season “playoffs”), I was visited by some acquaintances that tend to show up often and without invitation.
Mosquitos. And I can tell you exactly how many because it’s as simple as counting the number of tiny welts on my ankles and calves this morning. There were 11 of them.
And I hope, with the tiny amounts of blood they extracted from me yesterday that 1) they got what they needed and used it wisely so all my scratching overnight and into this morning has not been for nothing and 2) these few drops of blood (blood with which, by the way, I could certainly part so that’s not the issue) would be the last drops of blood taken from me by my tiny acquaintances this year, as summer turns to autumn.
I use the term “acquaintances” because I don’t consider the mosquito to be my friend. On the other hand (and I know some of you will have trouble accepting this because we, as humans, are conditioned to hate mosquitos and will go to great lengths to exterminate them), I recognize their place in the world, and so I don’t despise them or their behavior because, like all living creatures, they have a purpose. (What that is, I’m not exactly sure, but if I’m guessing, it’s no more complicated than to remain alive long enough so some larger creature – one that stands, sits, jumps or squats one link up on the food chain — can eat them.)
I don’t like all animals. Just like most everyone else, I think some are ugly, creepy, pesty or scary. That said, I do respect all animals – large or small, swimming or flying, cuddly or crawly — and their value to the world, and for that reason, I don’t believe it’s my place to determine what animals should stay or go, which are “cute enough” or useful enough to remain alive versus those who seem too creepy, slimy or frankly, threatening to survive.
So, when an animal that makes me uncomfortable gets near me, I try to find a humane way to usher it out of my space, or to vacate its space. Thing is, with mosquitos, if you don’t have any artificial or manufactured non-lethal repellants, you basically have to kill them because when they land on you (unlike a fly or even a bee or wasp), they immediately start to feed, making it virtually impossible to remove it any other way.
And then, you not only have a dead animal on your hands – or more likely your arm, leg or neck – you also have a tiny amount of spilled blood which has completely gone to waste. (I don’t like wasting food either, FYI.)
And that, much like the mosquito itself, sucks, because, as I stated earlier, I don’t want to rid the world of mosquitos or any other animal just because it might make my life a bit more comfortable. And on a much smaller scale, I don’t even want to kill the ones that landed on me Sunday – or on so many summer Sundays (along with Tuesday, Fridays, etc.) throughout my life.
But I feel I have no choice. The mosquitos are forcing my hand.
I’m sure you have your opinions about mosquitos and other animals and creatures like them, and you probably also have some remedies (both lethal and non-lethal) for dealing with them, and that’s great, but with all due respect, I don’t need to hear them.
I just wish two things: 1) I wish mosquitos didn’t like me so much so I wouldn’t be faced with such a tough decision when they land on me and 2) I wish I could find a way to get them what they’re looking for elsewhere because once they’ve broken my skin, I have no choice but to swat them.
And now, my time’s up, and now I know how a mosquito feels just after it sucks those precious drops of blood out of my arm.
© 2019 David R. Haznaw