The Last Word on Life at the Lake

BY ROCKY THOMPSON

When people talk about life at the lake, they never mention the bugs. They talk about the views, the sunsets, the serenity of the water, and of course, the local real estate transactions. But let me assure you, the bugs are just as much a part of life at the lake as Duke Energy.

Each month brings a new species that crashes over the land like a swarm of, well, locusts. There are the black ones with red lines that look like they were built on a forage on Mars. The ones with big bodies and millions of tiny legs. The ones with tiny bodies and millions of big legs. The ones that look like ladybugs but aren’t. The fish-hooked shaped bugs that weigh so much they overwhelm spiderwebs big enough to trap humans.

Speaking of spiders, what must life be like for them on the lake? Judging by the sheer volume in which they settle into docks, windows, and front porches, it must be a paradise. Take the stubborn spider who comes to my dock to rebuild his web after I knock it down every day. Can you imagine how he feels around Halloween when he watches me knock down his web and then hang up fake spider webs as decoration? I’m pretty sure he’s gotten his revenge by relocating his web from my dock to the motion-detector light in my backyard that he sets off each night just as I’m about to drift off to sleep.

Our bug guy is our only ally. I’ve never met him. One day he stuffed a business card into our mailbox and the next week while I was out of town, he showed up to spray mysterious chemicals around the house. He assures me they’re non-toxic, but I’m sure the pile of quarter-sized beetles I found on the front porch a week later would disagree. Our relationship is simple and pure: he sends me bills and then talks to me through the camera in our doorbell whenever he decides to show up.

The bugs aren’t all bad, of course. There are the ladybugs that bring a little levity to my evening on the porch. And the wooly bugs that land on the water to the delight of fish. Whenever I see them, it reminds me that I have a fly rod stashed away in a closet somewhere and darnit — it’s time to get it out and wave it around like I have any clue what I’m doing. And of course, the cicadas, singing the soundtrack of summer, sometimes so loud on an otherwise windless, waveless evening that they’ll drown out the sound of a cigarette boat roaring right past my dock.

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