Eaten Alive

There are vampires out here in the North.

The bears aren’t the half of it.

Giant blood-sucking leeches the size of your finger.

Leathery-winged bats that’ll punch a fist-sized hole through your tent to get a taste.

The horseflies with their saw-edged teeth.

And don’t forget the mosquitos. Not that they’d let you if you tried.

Swarms of them whining around your head and your ankles and elbows, leaving throbbing, cherry-sized welts wherever they land.

Everything out here is trying to get a taste of our rich, salty blood.

But it’s no big deal.

We adapt. We build a stone bank to lure the leeches off the beach. We wear long sleeves when the gnats come out and dive into the lake when a horsefly launches an attack.

We stay inside for an hour or two and light some scented candles to ward those whining little bastards away. And we rub cream on to soothe the wounds when our efforts fail.

Getting eaten alive is just part of the fun, part of the constant battle of wants and wills of nature.

Unless, of course, it’s a bear.

Then scream like hell.