Friday, July 8, 2011

Manitoba's Bird of Prey

One thing I like about Manitoba in the summer is that Mother Nature is kind and gentle, and nothing wants to kill you.

Living in the deepsouth was an eye opening experience when it came to our love of nature. Everything that walked, crawled, slithered, or flew, wanted to do you harm. Mixed in with poisonous spiders, deadly snakes, alligators, rabid bats and killer fire ants, were terribly horrible summer storms that threatened to level entire towns. Just the heat alone from April to November was enough to kill an ill prepared Sunday shopper, and heat stroke gardening accidents were common in our neighborhood.

Manitoba generally has gorgeous summer weather. You need to be quick to catch it, as this summer is forcast for two weeks in August, but when it arrives, it is almost Utopic. Calm winds, highs of 85 degrees, lows of 60, sunshine and clear skies. The stuff of legend. When summer arrives, all worries depart for the few weeks we are blessed, the days are long, and people become uncharacteristically pleasant to one another.

While the deepsouth weather was a bit to handle and while there were dangerous creatures lurking in every nook and cranny that would surely eat you if you ventured too close, what they didn't have were mosquitoes.

Sure there were palmetto bugs, an affectionate name for giant flying cockroaches that are faster on their feet then in the air, and sure, there were cicadas, which look like some horror story version of a house fly and emit a deafening drone from the trees, and yup, spiders everywhere, but there were NO MOSQUITOES.

The mosquitoes in Manitoba are bad. When I say they are bad, I mean they have tattoos, carry weapons, and ride motorcycles. They are clearly angry with their lot in life, and take out their pent up rage and frustration on the general population. Just yesterday, while returning home from yet another trip to the store for mosquito repellent, I witnessed a group of four or five mosquitoes beating up a duck. The right thing to do would have been to try and help, or call the police, but honestly, I was too afraid and didn't want to get involved. I feel bad, but really, it was either him or me.

We have used any number of mosquito repellents to try and keep the monsters at bay, lotions, creams, sprays, electric appliances, and old wives' home remedies, but all that we have accomplished is to create a roving gang of drugged out blood thirsty devils in the neighborhood looking for their next fix. If you have never seen a mosquito coming off a DEET high, I can assure you it not a pretty sight. One town close to us has even built a giant mosquito idol to which they worship and offer small sacrifices, but it has done nothing to appease the mosquito leaders. I heard that they lost the town hall and the post office last week and are now paying protection money to use the facilities.

When August rolls around, and our two weeks of summer hit, We will be enjoying the nice weather and calm skies trough the relative safety of our livingroom picture window, so long as no mosquitoes make eye contact. The last time we spent summer in Manitoba, they kicked in our door and tried to steal one of the hounds.

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