In Virginia, you either figure out a way to deal with bugs, or you stay inside all summer. It’s that simple. Unless you have a screened-in porch that serves as a nice midpoint.
Having lived here my whole life, this is something I never thought much about until friends moved here from California. They kept asking how we dealt with all the bugs. I had a hard time answering, because my mind was stuck wondering why anyone would ask the question.
Doesn’t everyone have bugs? All I could think of was, “You just do.”
Of course, I found myself asking the same question years earlier in King Salmon, Alaska. I was there for a few days awaiting a helicopter ride to further Alaskan adventures.
King Salmon is a tiny town on the Alaska Peninsula, and it has a summertime bug problem — the gnats were so thick I could barely walk down the street. I had to cover my face and swat the gnats away, all while trying to walk without tripping over anything. It was miserable.
Since we were staying in the home of a local couple, I asked them,
“How do you deal with all the bugs?”
Their answer has stayed with me ever since …
“You just relax and keep walking, and they’ll stay a few inches from your face.”
Such a simple, casual answer to what seemed like an insurmountable bug situation.
They didn’t tell me to wear a head net, or cover my face in DEET, or stay inside until fall. They told me to relax and keep moving.
Don’t worry about them, and they’ll stay away from you.
It seems like a lot of life’s annoyances could be resolved this way — it’s the worrying that holds them close to us.
I left town the next day, so I never had a chance to develop the level of calm it must take to relax while swarmed by gnats. I’m considering making it a practice for myself this summer though. I won’t be in Alaska again, but I do have some favorite walking trails that I’ve avoided in the summer because they’re so buggy.
I’ve seen people wearing head nets on those trails, but it certainly does seem freeing to be able to just walk and know the bugs will stay away.