If Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, then my northern Illinois neighborhood is the Plain of 10 Puny Ponds.
Eight retention ponds stand within three blocks of my house, one of them practically in my back yard. The aerial view of my back yard reveals the single pond I’m imagining to actually be three little puddles with trees and marsh disguising the edges.
We’ve received a lot of rain lately — already 3.59 inches just this month, and we’re only 4 days in — so I suppose I should be glad all that water has somewhere to go besides my basement. But as lovely as these bodies of water seem with their reeds billowing in the breeze, they’re really just breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
Really, why do you suppose Minnesota’s unofficial state bird is the mosquito? It’s not because Minnesotans have more succulent blood — it’s because there are a lot of places for those pests to procreate. Ten thousand lakes? Any Minnesotan worth his salt will tell you there are more like 15,000 or 20,000 bodies of water within our borders; “10,000” just sounds good.
And besides the mosquitoes, the frogs are plentiful around here. Teeny ones, big ones and a lot of flat-as-a-pancake dead ones, which my dog always seems to nose out along our walks no matter where the poor amphibian met its demise. According to my online go-to source, Yahoo.Answers, frogs eat mosquito larvae so I guess the food chain here is in working order.
Mosquitoes are a delicacy for another disgusting creature: Bats. I thought I left bats behind when I moved out of my little house in Minnesota by the Mississippi River, but no. My Beloved often sees bats flying around our Illinois residence at night. I heard from my ex today that the house by the river still has bats, and he’s considering one-way bat doors to shoo them away from our renters. Yuck.
Same bat time, same bat channel; some things never change.