Thursday, July 6, 2017
After spilling our collected kitchen compost onto our kitchen floor I went out for my accustomed walk. But realizing, after a bit of desultory rambling, that the whole day was mine to do with what I liked, I decided to go far and feed the mosquitoes. I ventured past all the pretty houses and flowering yards of my neighbors and plunged into the pockets of deep woods tucked into the Mississippi River bluffs.
"Come for me mosquitoes. Wax fat." And they did. In their lightness and clouds, their quiet hungers and mellow bobbing in damp airs.
Scourge of mankind, disease bringer, pestilence of the North and South and Center. Oh squishable, whackable mosquito! Mighty hunter, lover of water, vampire, magician. Who are we to complain? We are all admiration for killers; lions bringing down zebras, a pack of wolves stalking the caribou herds, the owl, wings spread wide and plunging on some unsuspecting mouse. Why must everything die all the time? The mosquito doesn't think anything has to die. She sees all the meat on the hoof just as we do. But she translates us into trees, and plucks our blood like fruit. We can surely spare a bare drop of blood easier than our lives. And she leaves us the gift of an itch, to remember her by. Then she goes and has a few hundred children.
The rest of the time she eats the nectar of flowers.
I sound so calm about it, but in the thick of the mosquito swarms I resorted to running on the damp trails, flailing my hands like a madman.
And what about the blood I lost?
It's okay. I found wild raspberries, a great bank of them. The ripe ones were black and small. They grew scattered, on a sunny hillside, and I picked a handful to eat. They gave me the strength of my blood back. Then I picked some more and ate them because I liked them.
One or two of them were just the right ripeness, and delicious, but those were the rare ones. Mostly they were just good, tart, tasty, but not delicious. Do you know what was delicious?
Just ask the mosquitoes.