In Praise of Mosquito Weather


Morning moth keeping dry on giant ceramic tooth under the entrance roof of the library and chapel at Mount Mercy University, July 12, 2014, 8:30 a.m.

Morning moth keeping dry on giant ceramic tooth under the entrance roof of the library and chapel at Mount Mercy University, July 12, 2014, 8:30 a.m.

Well, in the past 2 years, we’ve seen it tall: Drought, severe cold, tremendous thunderstorms—and, so far this summer, a cool, wet growing season.

At least it’s not 1993. Those of you old enough to recall that rainy year may appreciate this one a bit more. That year, it not only rained almost constantly, it was so cloudy that crops had trouble maturing.

As I recall, however, I did take advantage of that year to plant numerous trees.

While not as flood-prone, thank goodness, as that year, this is another damp growing season. And while it has its downsides, I’ll take damp over drought, thank you.

I was thinking about that last Saturday. I was meeting a student at the library at Mount Mercy to take her mug shot and review a column draft with her. It had rained the night before, and as I waited, I used my small point-and-shoot camera to shoot images of what I saw.

Damp marigolds near Regina Hall on a cloudy, damp Saturday morning.

Damp marigolds near Regina Hall on a cloudy, damp Saturday morning.

Flowers, of course. A moth on a notorious piece of art. Street lights that might be on some sort of light detector—on, I assume, due to the dim cloudy sky even though it was after 8 a.m. and the sun was shining somewhere above those clouds.

For the most part, I appreciated this damp summer.

The central campus of MMU reflected in a bit of water on top of a bollard.

The central campus of MMU reflected in a bit of water on top of a bollard.

What part didn’t I appreciate? Having to constantly shift so I was taking the photos as some sort of quick-moving photographer commando—if you stand still on a damp Iowa morning in this summer of 2014, you know what will happen.

You become an instant ecosystem. And you’re at the bottom of the food chain—you’re insect chow. Right now, the second bloom of gnats is clouding our mornings. Soon to come, inevitably, I think, although late in arrival which makes me wonder if something related to the harsh winter is still going on, is the second horde of ravenous insects expected any day.

A campus light shines well after the sun should have risen. It was a bit dim this cloudy morning.

A campus light shines well after the sun should have risen. It was a bit dim this cloudy morning.

Yup, its mosquito weather. Well, let’s enjoy the unexpected break from that problem. And smell the flowers. But quickly, or the gnats are going to eat you.

Something new--next to the library, a Frisbee golf "hole" has appeared. Where should I tee off?

Something new–next to the library, a Frisbee golf “hole” has appeared. Where should I tee off?

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