Archive for Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Summer’s insects gaining ground

June 28, 2000

Our publisher is the person to call when a wasp threatens. Caroline was up here with her husband and daughter Saturday, and a wasp came to call. The uninvited backdoor guest (I thought that was supposed to be the most welcome kind of visitor) zipped from room to room as if looking for a bonafide place to set up a new home.

As the publisher went looking for something with which to swat, her husband, who is allergic to wasp stings, hunkered down as far away as he could, and her daughter made a beeline for the front door. Me? Well, I just sat at my desk, typing away.

After all, the little critter would most likely find his own way out, or maybe fall into a corner and fade away from the mortal life.

I've never much feared bugs at least not up until now. Of course until a month ago, I never much feared tornadoes either. But once a person realizes that he or she is not impervious to danger, that danger takes on a new reality, or perhaps the first reality.

Remember the granddaddy longlegs spiders that used to haunt the corners of the room where the wall met the ceiling? My oldest son has told me that they are venomous but that they have no way of injecting the venom into us. And so, as children, we learned to live with, and yes almost to welcome, the nearly invisible, long-legged spiders that loitered in the tallest corners.

Once when I was newly grown I captured a fuzzy black spider from a window ledge, enshrining my kill on a tissue so that a knowledgeable source could tell me whether that was a killer insect inhabiting the thoroughfare between outside and in. I envisioned gallons of insect spray coming to the kill. But to my foolishness I learned that the little creature was my friend, as he only ate others similar to his own kind.

Still today, it is rare that I hasten to slaughter an insect. If at all possible I gather the fragile souls in a cup or jar and carry them outside to let them go. We made our peace with one another long ago.

However, I must admit my exception with slugs, those slimy little cigar-shaped creatures that slither across my porch and deck, leaving a shiny path. I was determined to share my outdoors with them until one morning, when barefooted, I stepped on a slug that had found its way indoors. And then, even for me, enough was enough, or in that instance, enough was simply too much.

But generally, insects probably aren't much of a problem for most.

However, one never knows when another moment will arise, like the tornado last month, when one might realize that the comfort of mortality can hinge on so little, or so much, as the sting of a hornet. And so, I now have an index card in my Rolodex that reads: Want Bugs B Gone? Call Caroline, the invincible, irascible and courageous pest controller.

Oh, and when it comes to journalism, she's not bad either.

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