The photo above is from the observation deck at New Point Light, on a day that found me running through swamps and briar patches in search of a decent shot of the lighthouse. Instead what I found was
swamps and briar patches, an ancient graveyard and chiggers. And swamps.
Chiggers are a story for another day, but they do provide a nice segue way for a discussion of another Mathews County
freak of nature nuisance, the "over sized, killer mosquito."
The other day I was perusing the web for information on the lighthouse and discovered this: http://www.newpointcomfort.com/. I'd come across it before but never lingered very long.
The site contains a wealth of information relating to the construction of the lighthouse, including the excerpt below, which in spite of all appearances was not written by
a woman with insect paranoia and hysteria me:
Two hurricanes did pass northeast along the Atlantic Seaboard in August 1803 and September 1804 producing violent gales upon the lower Chesapeake. Another, in October 1804 passed directly over the Chesapeake Bay with Force 6 winds before turning nontropical and tracking northward dumping over two feet of snow in New England. Burroughs most likely rode this storm out on the mainland and returned after it had passed.
They also had to endure the conditions that existed beside a thriving salt marsh habitat. "It is home to a variety of aggressive stinging and flesh-eating insects that prey upon their human host. Vast numbers of gnats can erupt from the swamp on still mornings and nights graying the sky in a swarming cloud. They burrow under the clothing and into the hair on the head.
There is also a species of mosquito, larger than average, that can walk upon the skin undetected before it strikes. Biting flies in great variety prey here, some growing to several inches in length. They buzz about the head relentlessly before biting with such voracity as to cause a person to lose their grip or drop what they are carrying in order to swat at the beast."
First, the "Burroughs" referenced above is Elzy Burroughs, kin to the one and only Ann Marie aka Re ,who today lives just a hop, skip and a jump (with a cartwheel thrown in for good measure) from the lighthouse her (great-great?) grandfather built. Mr. Burroughs was also appointed the first keeper.
Second, Hallelujah, I feel vindicated. Even centuries ago the mosquitoes and horseflies on steroids were causing people to swat the air and hop up and down like they didn't have any sense. It's not just me. Amen.
Third, Dear Blog Fest Attendees, be sure to bring
armored tanks your strongest wine insect repellent.
Speaking of which, Blog Fest is less than two months away...