The Suitcase Lady


August 28, 2007, 11:14 pm

If you are squeamish about insects, stop reading right now.

You’ve probably heard that only insects would survive a nuclear war. I’m personally convinced this is true.

I never understood insect power until we moved to the country next to a big lake. We arrived during early summer. We left lots of lights on that first night and weren’t quick coming in and out of the front door.

Voila! Our nice white living room walls (2 stories tall) were instantly covered with gnats. It looked like an explosion in a pepper factory. A shop vac, tall ladder and two hours of wall vacuuming were required to turn our house back into a home. Apparently living close to nature wasn’t going to be all fluffy bunnies and monarchs.

All summer long various bugs rule, and we’ve learned to cope. Legions of ladybugs usher in spring. Black undulating clouds of gnat hatches announce summer. Millions of weird beetles cover the beach for several days in July. Flies are a terror the third week of August.

On late summer and fall nights, our yard fills with noisy bugs. As the days grow shorter, the insect voices grow louder and louder. Their cacophony is definitely a last hurrah before the frost comes, silencing most of them forever.

Our California granddaughter visited last week. One of the first topics we had to address was the arthropod situation. “Don’t,” we said, “don’t ever leave any door open a second longer than necessary.” But the message didn’t really make an impression until I was washing the dishes the first evening of her visit. The window screen over my sink was completely black and writhing with bugs.

“Disgusting!” she said.

“Even worse if they are on the inside,” I replied.

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