Sunday, December 01, 2013

Stinkbug Winters

Folks around here kept mentioning the overabundance of kamemushi this autumn - though in my opinion more than one kamemushi is overabundance - and it recalls to me what one of the wives of the fields across the road said to us the summer we first moved into our new house here, how there were a lot of kamemushi this year - there'd been practically none of those bugs in Kyoto - so there would be heavy snows that winter, and so it proved, big time.

The snow out here had been impressive the previous winter, but it was so heavy our first winter in the new house that only a tracked vehicle could have made it all the way up. The first early snowfall was over a meter, and the snowtop stayed up to my waist all winter. There was only a walking path up the mountain road, up and down which the mailman walked each day, the folks up here using sleds to pull their provisions (food, kerosene) up to their houses.

We newbie city slickers had a 2-wheel drive vehicle (for the last time), so we definitely had to park down below the school and walk up too, but we loved it all: the snow, the solitude, the silence, the vistas...  All that snow on the ground throughout the winter was a welcome challenge, and nothing better for a woodstove fire, warming us at the heart of white...    

Since then (almost 20 years now) we haven't had anything like that snow, or anything like those swarms of kamemushi (in the laundry, in your safety glasses, inside your just-laundered sweatshirt, in your salad, in your coffee. Until this year. At the first unfold last week of a firewood tarp that had been in the tool shed I counted 50 kamemushi, in the second unfold, I lost count, third unfold why bother countin, fourth looks like big snow comin.

Now I get to see if kamemushi walk the walk.

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