Vampire Fairies Of The North

Jul 24, 2018

My wife Breja and I were walking our black dog Shady down a gravel road near Low Lake, north of Ely, Minnesota. Deer flies swarmed our heads in their hundreds, and mosquitoes and black flies battled for any remaining bare flesh.

I wonder what I’ll write about for my next perspective, I told Breja.

How about mosquitoes? she said.

Mosquitoes? I said. I was thinking of writing about a bog. Something pretty. Lady slippers.

Shady dove through the roadside weeds to rid herself of the deer flies. She emerged to eat some blueberries. What a year it’s been for berries in the north woods.

In between swatting mosquitoes, Breja and I had been buzzing about them. How our daughter Iris calls mosquitoes "vampire fairies." How someone compiled all the mosquito references in the Lewis and Clark journals. How Merriweather Lewis spelled mosquito 19 different ways but you always knew what he meant.

To be honest, I’d rather spend less time thinking about things that plague me.

Breja’s much more bright-sided. It’s just the females that suck blood, she reminded me; the males pollinate all the berries we’ve been enjoying. No mosquitoes, no blueberries.

I’m teaching a writing class up here, and my students love to complain about mosquitoes. Chris St. George from Philadelphia is getting famous in my class for his mosquito complaining.

Just wear long sleeves, I finally said.

It’s not just the biting, it’s the buzzing in my ears, he said.

You buzz more than the mosquitoes, I said.

That’s reasonable, he said. And the buzzing stopped.

I’m Chris Fink and that’s my perspective.