Friday, June 13, 2008

A "Summer" Morning

Summer is here now in all but its official arrival date. Summer’s humidity now turns the distant views bluish with water vapor. The quality of a morning’s sunlight is strong and golden, a far cry from the pale shades of winter. I suppose you could say I am resigned to winter’s end for the next 187 days. But make no mistake. Winter is coming. In the meantime, I will try and enjoy the season that surrounds me this morning.

I will certainly enjoy the fresh foods of the growing season. And the longer hours of daylight. In the mornings I awaken now before the alarm rings, waking slowly as the light of the new day gradually fills the sky and my bedroom. In winter, when it is still night when the alarm goes off, my awakening is usually harsher.

I will likely never get used to or learn to appreciate some of the bugs of summer, however. Right now, the bane of my morning walks is deerflies. And it’s not just me that they bother. They bother Dog and they bother the deer, too. They lie in wait for Dog and me to walk by on our morning walks. When we pass, they ambush us and buzz around our heads in circles, sometimes alighting several times before biting. And when they do bite, it hurts. The same fly might continue its mad circling as we walk for half a mile or more, until we reach an open spot where they finally leave us alone. The deer are annoyed by them too. In the past few days I’ve seen more deer than I’ve seen in the past several weeks. At midday the deer are standing in a field or a clearing or even the middle of the road. Just standing, switching their too-short tails, waiting for the flies to return to the forest and leave them alone in the open for a few minutes.

I try appreciate their niche in the world—providing food for a variety of larger creatures like birds and fish, but some days that’s kind of difficult. Some anecdotal, homegrown research into how to avoid these creatures suggests they are especially attracted to the color blue, perhaps because it contrasts with the greenery. I’ve given up wearing blue in the woods at the moment, in hopes that it helps, though I can tell you that avoiding blue is not a cure all. June is typically the worst time for them in this area. They are also more common on warm, sunny days with little wind and they are attracted to motion, especially walking-speed motion, which is unfortunate for Dog and me. I guess you could say that one more good thing about winter is that I don’t have to worry about deerflies. Winter is coming. I know it.


Ruth said...

I will never appreciate deerflies or mosquitoes! Deerflies remove chunks of flesh I think. I prefer the beaches of the Great Lakes where breezes keep the bugs away rather than our inland smaller lakes. I am avoiding the woods right now too.

Carolyn H said...

Ruth: The only ecological niche I can find that mosquitos and the like fill is that they provide food for birds, fish, etc. This doesn't sound right to me; insects were around on earth long before birds and fish. They must have some other nice to fill, but I don't know what it is.

Carolyn H.

Cicero Sings said...

I HATE deer flies. Worse than mosquitoes! Their gouges take AGES to heal. I bought myself a bug jacket complete with hood from Lee Valley. It should really help where the deer fly are concerned ... but I hate wearing it.