Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Five: A Bug's Life

Sophia has been keen on nature today with here Friday Five:

As I was walking the beach today, I was surprised and delighted to find it swarming with ladybugs. The sweet little red beetles are one of my favorite insects and also my daughter's blogname--though as of this morning she was thinking of changing it to Butterfly. I'll keep you posted.

This got me thinking about spiritual insect trivia: Did you know that medieval mystics and theologians esteemed the bee for its dedicated work and transformation of ordinary ingredients into sweetness? That Spider Woman is an important creator Goddess to many Native American tribes? Or that Francis of Assisi was reminded of Jesus not only by lambs being led to slaughter, but also by worms (think "I am a worm and no man" from the Psalms)-- so he picked them up and took them out of stomping-vulnerable spots?!

In that spirit, this week's Friday Five is a magical mystery tour through God's garden of creepy crawlies!

1. Ladybugs or ladybirds? Pillbugs or roly-polys? Jesus bugs or water skeeters? Any other interesting regional or familial name variations?

I have always called them Ladybugs. The President’s wife was Ladybird. When I was growing up there were interesting little indentations in the sand that were made by ant lions. There were also stinging caterpillars that the neighbors called asps. I was 4 when we moved to TX from IL so I was treated to a whole different set of bugs. We had tarantulas and we had chiggers.

2. Stomp on spiders, carry them outside, or peacefully co-exist?

Today, I guess it depends. If they are Daddy Long-legs, I generally ignore them, especially if they are in the bathroom during the summer. They eat the gnats and no see’ums that come through the screens in the bathroom. If they are something that I know to be poisonous then they get flushed.

3. Favorite insect?

Since I am a fly fisher and tie my own imitations of the bugs that trout like, I have several. I love mayflies. The are often hard to imitate but they are so pretty coming off the water during a hatch. The huge Drakes—often 2” long down to the itsy bitty ones that we refer to as midges. I also like caddis flies because they are fairly easy to imitate. I still delight to a wet summer evening when the lightening bugs are in the grass and the whole field looks like a fairy den.

4. Least favorite?

I really abhor chiggers in the South and black flies in the North or the mountains. It is hard to understand the wisdom of God in their regard. And I really dislike mosquitos, not because their bite is so obnoxious, but they are known to pass on poison ivy to which I am extremely allergic. It makes fishing a hazardous sport for me.

5. Got any good bug stories to share?

The spring of my first year in NY I went to a friend’s cabin in the Adirondacks to assuage the hurt of being turned down my the ordination committee. I was sitting on their dock while fishing absorbed in the pain of seeming failure. There were gnats swarming around me but I was so sad I didn’t notice. It was my first introduction to black flies. I woke up the next morning with golf-ball sized knots all over me. My eyes were swollen almost shut. One ear looked like I had been in a fight, and I had a fever. I have never gone to the Adirondacks during May again. Of course, I applied again and was accepted. But I still identify black flies with rejection.

Bonus question: share a poem, song, quotation, etc. about insects.

I don’t remember any poems or songs except “Itsy-bitsy Spider”, but I do remember that when I was in first grade we had a story about Billy Goat Gruff in which I played the bee which stung the Billy Goat and made him go back into his pen. I had a really neat costume my mother made that included golden cellophane wings that daddy made for me.


Jane said...

I've never had black fly attacks but did get terrible allergic reactions to an invisible insect they call "aouta" here which means August bugs - that'll teach me to go picking plums rather than doing parish visiting!

Barbara B. said...

I am impressed (and a bit envious) that you are a fly fisher!

Your bee costume sounds like it was awesome!

Sophia said...

Black flies? Stinging caterpillars? I had no idea such things existed. Eew.

I think it is cool that you observe and recreate all the different flies for your flyfishing.

Jan said...

I'd never heard of chiggers until I moved to TX and my kids went to church camp in the Hill Country.

Anonymous said...

What is an 'ant lion'? intriguing

SingingOwl said...

Black flies (you poor thing!)...ugh...and chiggers...double ugh. Ken and I both got feet and ankles full of them one time when we lived in N.C. Pure misery for days!

revkjarla said...

oh! chiggers! indeed! all too many times in Florida did I get chiggers from walking in forests with lots of spanish moss.

you fly fish! how cool is that?

Processing Counselor said...

I did not know that about mosquitos. Now I know why some bites are much worse than others. You learn something new every day!
We called the little volcanos of sand ants "fire ants" in Ohio.