When you open your eyes, glance upward, catch some lazy time. Watch floating white fluffy clouds---in elephant or fish shapes---slowly drift by high in the sky. A fuzzy bumble bee, oblivious to your presence, buzzes around the chicory weed on your right. The bee lands on the plant’s purple flower to gather its pollen. You marvel at how close you are, yet how ignored by the insect. A grasshopper jumps nearby, landing on a blade of grass not far from your field of vision. Your eyes are like those in a giant head as you watch this not-so-attractive-but-fascinating bug sway on the blade in the breeze. In every direction you see green, green, and more green. You feel at peace.
Maybe you didn’t know it then, but you were in perfect harmony with Nature.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Today’s walk in the tall grass of a favourite wooded area harbours dangerous insects, eager to land on unprotected skin, suck your blood, and leave you with a debilitating disease. Like Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus, or the sometime life-threatening effects of a wasp sting.
Like monsters hiding under our childhood beds or running rampant in fairy tales, Lyme Disease is our newest walk-in-the-wood villain; the disease is spread by ticks found worldwide.
As for bees and/or wasps---if their stings trigger allergic reactions---you have a hazardous health problem.
Unfortunately, insects are not the only danger in the wild these days.
A poignant prayer from our artist son lights up the apocalyptic scene and captures the essence of Nature’s fragility: these fiery hot spots---raging out of control--- are not natural nor beneficial for forest regrowth. Constant, licking flames deliver instant destruction to people, wildlife, and property. Negative effects bombard the environment.
But these idyllic memories clash with today’s realities. A hike in the woods now is almost akin to mediaeval times when the very idea of going into the woods sat in the dark heart of fairy tales. Then, the forest was a threatening, mystical world, filled with unknown misadventures, terrible challenges, and life or death decisions.
Sometimes, when my husband and I head out for a hike today, with necessary garb like long pants tucked into long socks tucked into hiking boots, wearing long sleeves in Sahara-sweat temperatures, protective hat on vulnerable head, carrying a backpack with water, energy bars, ointments, bug spray, sun protection from UV rays, and yes---a cell phone---I get the feeling there’s a big bad wolf or bug or fire out there somewhere just waiting to gobble me up.