I think, maybe, the sun will make an appearance this evening before I pack it in and head to bed. The sun shone brightly this morning when I took off running down the road. Slate-bottomed clouds exited to the north pushed along by upper winds, and blue sky reigned to the south. Indeed, I thought the day would be summer-perfect — dappled shade, a slight breeze, bees humming, birds singing — but somewhere between the crises of the morning and issues of the early afternoon, the day grayed and rain began to fall.
It is late-June, and the mosquitoes are bad, bad, bad. I whop them with a fly swatter; I clap them mid-air between my hands; I slap them on my arms and legs; I smash them — and knock myself nearly senseless — when their high-pitched whine sounds too near my ear. It is the season we have longed for since deep January when subzero cold opened and closed each day and no sound but the call of chickadees and cries of crows broke the silence of the outdoors. It is the season of our dreams — leafed trees, landscapes of waving grass, goldfinches, robins, warblers, sparrows, kingbirds, and hawks perched atop poles surveying their prospects below — last January we did not consider mosquitoes. But mosquitoes are what we have.
In the midst of my misery, I resolve to reframe mosquitoes more positively. They are food for birds, food for the dragonflies, food for fish, turtles, frogs and bats — they are June, July, August and early September — they are the antithesis of January’s cold. Their moment is to be cherished along with long days, garden produce, campfires and evening walks. Perhaps I can maintain this positivity for a meaningful length of time; probably not. I just hit myself slapping a mosquito that landed on my face. I almost can’t stand them. Truth be told, I can’t stand them.
But stand them I will for it is late-June and I must not wish too soon for January’s cold. It is late-June, and I must let nothing get away –
You have to hold your old
heart lightly as the female river holds
the clouds and trees, its fish
and the moon, so lightly but firmly
enough so that nothing gets away.
Harrison, Jim. “River III.” Songs of Unreason, 71. Port Townsend: Copper Canyon Press, 2011.