One major difference between the hot, dry weather of a desert (Tucson, AZ) and the hot, humid weather of the Gulf of Mexico (Ft. Myers, FL) in July is the number of human-eating insects. I was reminded of this recently. As I obtained my parking permit from the machine at the beach, a cloud of gnats descended upon me. I flailed my arms and wiggled my body as I waited impatiently for the printer to finish. I grabbed the receipt and dashed back to the car.
Unfortunately, my bug spray was back at the house. I would have driven home for the spray, but the parking is timed, and I needed my beach walk to stimulate my creativity. I approached the beach with determination and the expectation of a rapid walk with lots of arm movements and pulling up the back of my t-shirt. Gnats are called no-see-ums, because they look like black specks, but they have a very painful bite. Nothing subtle about gnats. They strike fear in the boldest of people. In fact, I wrote a spoof horror audio theater script, In the Swamp, No One Can Hear You Scream, about gnats.
I approached the beach path at a brisk pace when I saw my rescuers, waiting for me in the sea oats. Dragonflies, a swarm of dragonflies! I walked confidently forward, believing that these predatory insects, symbols of awakening and transformation in Native cultures, would consume the tormenting gnats.
As I walked along the beach, the dragonflies accompanied me. I was confident that they were protecting me and they did. The swarm of dragonflies was present the entire length of the beach, rising from their perches as I went by.
Thank you, aerial protectors. And, it’s always the right time for awakening and transformation in my book.
I’m not certain of the dragonfly species (see pictures), but it may be Tramea onusta, common name Red Saddlebag.
Book Note: Before I was launched onto my writing children’s fun-science books career, I had written several performance scripts (being an actor myself), including In the Swamp, No One Can Hear You Scream, as one of two scripts included in Mayhem in Swamp and Snow.
Do you participate in a performance group? Check out my scripts on my author page—performance rights are included with the purchase.