Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Human-induced global climate change has probably already doomed us; and likely, we’ll succumb in unexpected ways. It won’t be rising seas or tornadoes that do us in, it’ll be something far less dramatic, like a bacteria that thrives in warmer temperatures and melts our flesh or simply causes billions of us to die from some more virulent form of the common cold.

Today, I think I got a taste (literally) of what it might be like as I rode home on the Burke-Gilman, besieged, on this remarkably beautiful and unseasonably warm day by millions of gnats apparently, I guess, sprung from their winter resting places by the near record high temperatures this afternoon and early evening.

My conjecture is that the birds that would normally eat them up are already gone for the season and so the critters were able to just go wild; in spring, it’s not unusual to pass through swarms at certain points along the trail; today, though, all the way from Bothell to the UW, I was passing through what looked like floating dandelion fuzz but which, upon closer inspection was tiny flying insects. They coated my shirt and pants, blotted up on the lenses of my glasses, and stuck in my eyebrows and when I wasn’t careful, my mouth and nose.

Given how annoying it was, I kept wondering whether if this were a more frequent occurrence, would I give up riding between school and home. Probably not, but it certainly bugged me (ha-ha) way more than your typical drizzle on an October day.

And I do believe that, unfortunately, this is the sort of thing we’ll be looking forward to (although not happily) in the years to come. As the historic predator-prey relationships go out of whack more and more, we’ll see all sorts of things nibbling at us that would normally have been consumed by something else.

At least these gnats didn’t bite; riding through them though, did kinda suck.


Blogger Deb's Lunch said...

Or we're all gonna go broke because of un-insured property damage due to wacky weather - Last night I continued watching a movie on DVD (Sweet Land - it was at our film fest last spring, and I couldn't get tix; I liked it a lot) rather than watching 20/20 special edition about the CA wild fires - although this a.m. the public radio news had a predicition that there would be prosperity in SoCal because of the building boom that will follow the fires ....

8:44 AM  

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