This has been a strange spring in Nashville, Tennessee. March was as warm as June, April as cool as October. Crape Myrtles are blooming a month early, and two days ago I found a patch of blooming Wild Blue Ageratum along the road in Edwin Warner Park. This wildflower usually blossoms in September.
And stranger still, two gnats bit me last week as I was minding my own business on my porch. I have lived 30 years in this city, and have never been bitten by gnats here. Mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, horseflies, deer flies- I have been chased by all of them.
When I lived in New Hampshire black flies attacked from Memorial Day through the Fourth. What freedom to live in Nashville, where gnats might circle, but never bite.
Anyone who has spent time on the Gulf Coast or on the Golden Isles of Georgia knows about the Gnat Line. Try watching a sunset from deck chairs out on your marsh side or bay side pier. Take the wooden board walk to the river in the Lower Suwanee National Wildlife Refuge. Misery will come out of nowhere. This is not something the rental companies and tourists' boards like to mention- A few hours spent below the Gnat Line seeing 12 foot alligators, stepping on sand burs, flushing Eastern Diamond Back rattlers from their hiding places under the saw palmettos ,all the while being pursued by these aerial devils, gives one respect for the Spanish explorers, and the Amerindians who lived here.
Remember that alligators live in the Tennessee River near Decatur, that armadillos are on the march through Tennessee. Any day now I may go to the park and see Spanish Moss hanging off a cedar tree. The Deep South is moving north.
Will the gnats be far behind? Or are they already here?