The summer rains came. And came again. And then some more. Then one mildewing day in July, the sun shone down upon the wet woodlands and the moldy people. Ahhhh… summer sun in Maine. The good life. The way life should be.
Multiple laundry loads stretched out upon the clothesline. A second rope hung between two trees for the sheets. Everything feels right and good.
Meanwhile, the saturated water table was spilling up and over into the lowlands. The wetlands became lakes, the rivers pregnant and dark with silt.
And then it happened; a fresh crop of mutant mosquitoes came. And then more came. They were special, very friendly beasts, persistently resistant to any concoction of earth – and body-friendly bug dope I could gather. Garlic spray, garlic pills, Skin So Soft, Passamaquody essential oils, green this, citronella that. Not for this special group of visitors. I heard their mocking laughter as they penetrated into clothing, skin, and even breath surrounding this vulnerable blood donor.
My Zen approach to bug season is to first honor the little critters by remembering how they are such an essential part of the web of life, feeding birds, bats, frogs, snakes and who eats those critters and who eats them. My little affirmation is to remember (and share with any flailing visitors) how birds are an indicator species and when they die we die. Eliminate bugs and the birds die. We would be pushing up daisies shortly thereafter once the birds are gone. So, bugs, you are welcome here.
That mantra went to hell in a basket this summer. I resorted to direct topical pesticide application (Off!), turning away from the local and global impact of supporting and introducing such petrochemicals into my largest organ, a semi-permeable membrane protecting me from such onslaught. This organic being was going chemical.
Eco-travelers came here to retreat in their cabin in the Maine woods. I warned them. They did not listen. They did not take me seriously. They did not prepare, showing up in dark, urban clothing, bare skin, flip flops, fresh with layers of scented skin and hair product. Like the rains, the visitors, too, came and went.
Meanwhile, yoga students came to the studio for summer classes. As soon as they stepped out of their vehicles, a swarm gathered around them. I watched from the upstairs studio window with empathy and concern. The cloud followed them into the yoga studio. Some yelled. Others cried and left. I was horrified in between bouts of peace knowing there was nothing more I could do. We dowsed the outside area with garlic spray. We tried to smoke them out with Reny’s bug products. We provided bug dope to participants during class. And we prayed for the second coming of the dragonflies.
Forgive them for they know not what they do.
And then, one magical day, there appeared the dragonfly. And then another. Or was it the same one? No, I was going with two, a pair of parents. Another came. They filled the skies in the open areas and multiplied, working their way up the hillside. Ten, fifteen, twenty darting left and right, filling themselves with my blood.
According to Jamie Sams, in her book Medicine Cards, the dragonfly is the essence of the winds of change, the messages of wisdom and enlightenment.
I am again enlightened to how humbling nature (and mind) can be, how easily agitation arises, how I still argue with what is.
In the back of my mind, I saw the second coming of the mosquito as another sign proving that climate change is real and is here, now. I see this happening as a result of extreme weather patterns. It happened last September as well. I cannot specifically know or prove my theory. Whether it is a sign or not still leaves me here, now, living life the best way I know how, traveling as gently as I am able, in the face of whatever is unfolding beyond my little speck on the planet I call home. In the end there are two ways to die; with a smile or a grimace, with peace or resistance. Here on the southwestern side of Pleasant Mountain, where the Upper Saco River Valley meets Mount Washington Valley, I watch, and breathe, and sometimes flail and sometimes praise what is.
Jen Deraspe, owner of Nurture Through Nature, is a holistic retreat facilitator and practitioner of The Work of Byron Katie. She lives off the grid on Pleasant Mountain in Denmark, Maine. www.ntnreats.com, (207) 452-2929.