Tuesday, May 10, 2011

#4 - Mother Nature Rocks

Houston's sweltering months can bring on some unpleasantries, such as when a few rains promote the mosquito explosion. Every now and then, we find ourselves in the midst of swarms of blood-sucking pests. If you want to lessen your chance of being bit, then you either stay inside or drench yourself in a pesticide to hopefully make yourself more undesirable to their blood hunt.

We were in the middle of one of these horrible mosquito outbreaks, but we had to make a regular trip to our acreage to do some mowing and pruning. Keeping Mother Nature in check is not an easy task. Actually, we were dreading the trip because Houston was having such a major issue with mosquitoes that we couldn't imagine being out in the woods with them. Surely the Big Thicket area would have double the mosquitoes and they would probably be the size of hummingbirds. But, we had to move forward and get on the road.

After loading the truck, the trailer and adding to our supply of bug repellent, we headed to the land. All four of us were ready to do combat in an ugly battle against mosquitoes. Houston had so many of these suckers that we had to sleep with a sheet over our head or the irritating high-pitched buzzing sounds of a mosquito around your head and ear would continually wake you up through the night as they took a sip. However, once we arrived on our land, we were in for a shock. The mosquitoes had seemingly disappeared.

The entire weekend, we didn't even need to spray on any repellent. Our skin and bodies were able to delight in a reprieve from its daily chemical bath of spray-on pesticides. And, for those Avon Skin So Soft proponents, it wasn't cutting it. These mosquitoes were almost like Ninja-Turtles. But, our land didn't have one buzz or one poke to be found by a mosquito. We were in awe.

Later that night, as we sat around the campfire discussing the huge difference between Houston and our land and the mosquito population, we began to toss around ideas for the awesome change. Our land has a nearby lake, a creek running through the middle of the acreage and still no mosquitoes, but the difference is that it is "living" water. The water on the land is from natural springs and is continually running, no chance to be stagnant. Also, the abundance of wooded acreage houses all kinds of birds and these dined upon every buzzing little insect that dared to make an appearance. As we sat around the campfire, we held sticks in our hands because of the bats. Yes, lots of bats. The firelight attracted all kinds of insects and the bats would swoop in for the kill, very often coming close to our heads. So, we all kept sticks on us and we would swirl the sticks in a circular motion over our heads to keep the bats from getting too close.

Basically, life on our land worked more perfectly with nature, to keep it in check. Our city would get such a terrible mosquito infestation, yet not have the opposing wildlife in great numbers to keep things equalized. Concrete and steel and glass and strategically planted landscaping just isn't enough to promote balanced nature. We can fake it, but it won't make it. Nature demands the real thing.

The simple lesson with mosquitoes taught me a valuable lesson...the country may be powerfully wild, but it takes care of itself. Better than that...its natural capabilities kept us free from splatting disgusting little winged beasts against our own skin. Our land turned out to be a surprising sanctuary from those painful, irritating little pests. In the end I discovered another shocking revelation...I found that I'd rather deal with the beauty and the distance given by bats than live with one mosquito. Don't get me wrong, bats still have the ability to startle me and a bat diving downward toward us will certainly cause us to occasionally scream out and start running, but I'm still thankful for their awesome diet. And we all say...the bats are welcome to stay on our land.

Dear Mother Nature, sometimes you make me feel overwhelmed and insignificant as you display your incredible power. But, I want to take a moment to thank you for the chemical-free solution you generously make available so that we can be relatively free of gross mosquitoes and their vampirish ways. Again, thank you Mother Nature.

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