This summer has been unbearably hot and humid in Toronto, but I was going stir-crazy without my weekly walk. So, throwing caution to the (complete lack of) wind, I grabbed my camera and hit the boardwalk and some nearby wooded areas.
This past week, I had the luxury of visiting New Orleans on behalf of a magazine for which I write (DDNews). And not one to let an opportunity pass, a friend and I decided to take a swamp tour in Breaux Bridge, a small town outside Lafayette.
My thanks to Cajun Country Swamp Tours for what easily has to be the most enthralling two hours of my life.
Of to visit with a friend at a local baconery (not bakery, but baconery…a restaurant called Rashers dedicated solely to bacon) and decided to take my camera with me, catching some of the gardens and a surprise guest along the way.
More images from my recent foray through the neighbourhood…including someone prepping for dinner.
There is a scene early in the film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective where Ace calls out to all of the animals living in his apartment and they swarm from every crevice to give him the world’s biggest group hug (scene was totally ripped off in Evan Almighty). Well, every once in a while (aka daily), I feel the same way with insects.
Insects—and here I also include arachnids—love me. I don’t know why, they just do.
The best I can figure is that there is something in my personal chemistry—blood, sweat, breath, pheromones—that drives bugs wild.
When I go to the local beach to work—hard life, I know—I cannot sit on a bench for much more than an hour before I become a buffet for biting flies. And when I get home from the local park or ravine, I invariably find a couple small beetle hitchhikers somewhere on my clothing. That I have not yet contracted Lyme disease eludes me, although I am grateful, because that shit’s nasty.
When my grandmother’s seniors’ complex became host to a bed bug invasion, I became the canary in a coal mine. After her place had been sprayed, it was my duty to sit on her couch and see if the fumigation had worked. If there was a bed bug within 1 km of her apartment, it would find me within 10 minutes and leave its mark as a large red welt. I was bed bug fly paper.
As luck would have it, I also seem to attract spiders, which is fine as long as they focus their attentions on the various flies and other critters and not on me. So far, so good.
Perhaps this life-long attention from creepy crawlies has made me immune to the sociological ick-factor and has in fact turned into a fascination with them, as my many photographic blog posts would attest. In short, I like bugs. (I’m not quite ready for a love connection.)
On one of my recent walks through a local ravine, I ran into a young gentleman who also wandered the woods with a camera. As the conversation proceeded, we shared our interests—his was birds. When I told him mine was bugs, he was confused. It made no sense to him that anyone would be interested in insects. He wasn’t questioning my sanity, just my logic.
Other people who wander with me, however, do question my sanity as I approach a flower bed covered in bees rather than run the other way as they do. Or as I walk into a swarm of dragonflies rather than swat them away as a nuisance.
I wish I could explain my interest. As I believe with all other life forms, I believe there is an inherent beauty in the specialization of bugs to their environments—their shapes, decorations, behaviours. It probably doesn’t hurt that they will also stay still when I’m trying to examine them, rather than scatter as most other animals will.
Having recently moved into a basement apartment (as mentioned in the previous post), I will have the opportunity to test the limits of my fascination…and undoubtedly of my camera lenses. Should be fun!
As I examined the photos I took the other day walking the waterfront of Toronto’s east end, I realized that much of my world was apparently upside-down. See for yourself.