Sunday Morning ~ Small things
Mbaliwali idabutsa chimoto. ~ A spark caused a great fire.
~ Chewa proverb
May 26, 2019
Zack and I went out to explore a bog yesterday in a part of the state I’d never been to. We packed up some sandwiches, plenty of water, two travel mugs of tea, two expensive pastries I had in the freezer, and set off for the Maine woods. The bog was a challenge to get to and I was amazed Zack was able to even find it, but he’s explored these parts for many years and was familiar with the natural landmarks. We traveled unmarked dirt roads, past idyllic ponds and lakes, and camping areas available to anyone willing to venture in to these parts. It’s state land and the campsites provide a safe sleeping spot for those appreciating this part of the Maine wilderness. You can canoe down the river making a loop connecting five lakes, the campsites situated so there’s always a place to sleep. I took it all in and decided to put a kayak trip here on my list of future adventures. It was a beautiful warm, sunny day and the smell of the woods brought back happy memories of good times in the woodsy warmth. We made our way through dense vegetation to the bog and I was glad I’d worn long pants with the brush scraping against our legs. The sun and warmth usually brings out the shorts in me. Zack said he wouldn’t have let me wear shorts ––– he’s been there before. It wasn’t long before our feet were wet and not long after that a few black flies buzzed around our heads. I wasn’t too bothered by them, taken up with the scene around us, and a few waves of the hand in front of my face cleared them away. Well, that seemed a red flag to a bull. A few minutes later it was full on attack and it was hard to open our eyes. Huge swarms covered us. I had to take my sunglasses off as the black flies were underneath and getting in my eyes. They filled my ears. The only visible part of my wrist between my shirt and gloves had thousands of them on it. It was like a horror movie. I could see why animals have to bury themselves in the mud or jump off a cliff! I thought they were bad in our backyard in June. This was another experience altogether. I think they all hatched the moment we got out there. So the fantasy of finding a dry spot and eating our picnic dissolved quickly into, ok, had enough of this, let’s get out of here. It was a mile or so walk (trudge) back to the car and probably the most miserable time I’ve ever spent in the woods. Not to overuse superlatives, but it was bad. I had a T-shirt underneath my long sleeved shirt, thinking as I walked I’d remove a layer in the warm sun. There was no way I could expose any more of my skin, so quickly got my T-shirt off, put the long sleeved one back on, then wrapped my T-shirt around my head to keep the bugs out of my ears. That helped a little, but then they all just covered my face. Holy cow, it was unbearable. My right eye is swollen shut this morning and my right ear is twice the size of the left. It was a gorgeous area, and I do want to go back, but maybe in September or October. Give me freezing nights anytime.
On the drive home I was thinking about how something so tiny can make something so much bigger so miserable. How they could, with their numbers, win the day. I liked the metaphor, searching as I am after every newscast for some hope in the midst of the insanity. I thought about how to be like a black fly. Get in their ears and eyes, under their shirt and up their pants. Six hours later Zack said, “I literally just coughed up dead black flies.” I said, “I just blew some out my nose.” So yeah, let’s be impossible to ignore.