The Art of Walking and the Unknown Bug

After eating a good supper last night, I decided to walk a bit to burn calories and to have a good look around at the post-Irenic devastation of our land. (I’m leading with understatement.)

The trek to the market from my house is around 2.5 miles, so it makes a pretty good workout on a rest day. For a guy of my age and my eating habits, I have to exercise away a lot of calories just to break even, and normally I am semi-psycho at the gym, but this walk provided a good cap of a weekend spent lolling around the house waiting for the winds to subside.

The first thing I noticed was not how much my immediate neighborhood got spared. A few trees were downed, some areas were flooded. More than few neighbors were shop vaccing their basements. More than quite a few were without power. Nope — I could not help but observe how beautiful a work of natural art it is to experience the outrush of a hurricane met with the influx of a cool high-pressure system. Whether the work of God or Mother Nature or a collaboration, the only word utterable during my sojourn was bravo.

And now about the bugs. Hurricanes seem to bring with them not only high winds, ridiculous rainfall and ample danger, but a helluva lotta bugs too. An untold number of pest species abound and Irene, as with other hurricanes I have experienced, carried a few them in her unyielding blows. First, hurricane bugs often come in bewildered and out of place. The next question is where do they come from? I used to believe that they came from way down south — Florida, the Caribbean, and the Carolinas — dislodged by Category 2s, 3s and 4s, magically and mystically carried on the stratosphere to our cold northern habitats, but now I suspect something a little less stupendous. These bugs probably hail from the swamps and creeks and protected natural areas of the state. Since New Jersey is a essentially a swamp papered over with McMansions and ghettoes, there are a lot of bugs out there just waiting to blow in. And since mankind is aware of only a sliver of the species on this planet, every time a major warm storm comes in from the south, it empties the forest of thousands of swamp critters — representatives of bug-kinds we’ve never seen before. I would image that entomologists have a sort of field day during hurricanes or tropical storms chasing bugs. During my stroll a strange fly — more like a miniature donkey than a horse — perched on my arm momentarily bug-eyed and surprised after a gust. It didn’t bite me, because I think it was in a kind of shock. Imagine the Great Wind from a bug’s perspective and you’ll see more than the hand of God active in such a momentous event. Next let’s actually imagine that we control over the forces of nature and we can sit comfortably back in our recliners and count the drippings from the ceiling.


About Pete Mladineo

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