Some men and women and chick magnets. Me? I’m a chigger magnet. Take me out to the fields or woods with you, and you won’t need insect repellant or to beat yourself with a sock full of sulfur powder (an effective way to keep chiggers at a distance).
This weekend, at the KAW Council 30th anniversary weekend, I stayed mostly to dirt roads or wood-chipped covered areas near picnic tables. Yet a cheery walk on a path through the woods brought me into chigger-central. Although I didn’t get attacked by very many, their collective damage was more than enough, propelling me into my first-chigger-of-the-season mild allergic reaction. So while I was thrilled to the point of heart gymnastics all weekend, I was also carrying in me that rush-shiver of chiggers gone wild. Antihistamine and coffee helped, but mostly how happy I was lifted me through my mild chigger infusion. Yet when one chigger point of itch ignited, all the others ones did too, as if each was another crazy light in a pinball machine when the silver ball scored more points.
If you’re not of these parts or areas south of here, you might not know what chiggers are: inivisible-to-the-eye critters that land on the skin, inject some kind of enzyme into the unfortunate human, feed on that enzyme and then depart, leaving us to our agony. Well, it’s not agony for everyone. Some people hardly react at all, or barely attract the chigger; that is, some people who are not me.
So three days out from the chigger meet-and-greet, and after three nights of taking Benadryl each night so I could sleep and the allergic reaction could dampen down, I’m ready to head out into the world, almost good as new. But I’m not ready to walk through any grassy areas unless I thoroughly beat myself with the sulfur sock first or until sometime in late September when the chiggers, having conquered their giants, head on off into the sunset of the first cold snap.