Mosquitoes. Just the word makes me itch. I am lucky (or unlucky depending on your perspective) to be one of those people that mosquitoes LOVE. Before entering the back country of Wyoming for three weeks this summer, my subconscious came forward with night terrors about being eaten by mosquitoes!
So started a trip into the heart of the Wind River Range, home of the mosquito nick-named the “state bird”, ” of EPIC proportions”, and “great fishing because of it.” The Winds are known for the mosquito and this time was no different. Especially since everything was a month late due to the late spring snowfall.
I went equipped for war: long sleeves, long pants, two bottles of deet, a head net, and the frame of mind needed to be prepared mentally. Well, war is a strong word, more like in defense, or in protection of. The first night as we sat in the tent and killed the pests, I exclaimed, “This isn’t very Buddhist like, all this killing, but I need peace!” and “What would the Buddha do in this situation, just get bit?” Yes, we agreed, that is what he would do, darn it!! No excuses, no justification for killing, but, but….
Going to the bathroom was epic and I held it as long as I could to limit the amount of time I exposed my precious flesh to the stingers. Then I would take a deep breath after noticing the panic button almost being hit internally. “Breath, breath” I would say to myself just as I thought I couldn’t stand it anymore. Then let out a scream and yell “You f#@$&ers!!”
So where is the lesson in this? Patience, patience and more patience. And respect for another creature on the planet, yes, really. Mosquitoes are amazing when you look at them objectively instead of as intentional torture. The females need the protein for their eggs, they detect our carbon dioxide from 75 feet away, their wings beat 300-600 times per minute (thus the high pitched sound), they can live up to 6 months, and in mating the male and female synchronize their wing beats – wow! They are an important link as a pollinator, as well as a food source for shorebirds, amphibians, reptiles, dragonflies, and small fish.
After having them fly into my mouth, up my nose, in my hair, and find any possible exposed flesh on my body, I have a new found respect for them, and see it as a lesson on my path in learning patience for all beings on this planet. Well, I’m not totally at peace with it yet. I still kill them when they are in tent, and find the panic button close at hand sometimes, but it’s noticing how my mind reacts to their presence, to see it’s not personal, they are just doing what they need to do in their role in nature!
Categories: Meditation & Mindfulness