Saturday, July 22, 2023

It's Earwig Season

I saw my first earwig in 1976 when we moved to Dufferin County. It creeped me out. I just saw one in the kitchen. They still creep me out, but not as violently. I can pick them up now with a piece of toilet paper, and escort them outside. Most of the time.

My aversion escalated in 1977 when while rolling up sod to prepare for a driveway, the overturned earth squirmed with hundreds of them. It escalated again in 1978 when we put the basement in. They were getting in. Too many of them. 

I used to keep a shoe by my bed to swat them when they showed up. That's when I discovered they eat anything, even their own kind. You can imagine how deeply I wanted them to go away. How desperately. 

They seemed to come in, unfortunately, in the basement corner where I'd moved my home office. I looked for openings and found none. I sprayed with that awful insulating foam. That didn't slow them down a bit. I sprayed bug spray - the stuff that likely isn't legal any more. That slowed them down a bit but didn't stop them. I could hear them sometimes landing on the concrete floor under the window as I worked at the computer. I looked inside and outside to see if I could see any openings I'd overlooked. It all looked fine.

So this went on for SEVENTEEN years.

I'm a spiritual person and I knew it was a big lesson. I knew I'd have to find a way to make peace with them, that my aversion was just making things worse.

Over time, I gradually did. I never really warmed up to them - come on, the pincers - but over time my energy didn't rise in aversion any more. 

One day, I caught a glimpse of one walking across the carpet in the office beside my foot. I didn't quite feel affection for it, but maybe a hint of friendliness. I got a kleenex and took it outside. While out there, I had an urge to look yet again at the window in that basement corner. We had bought two identical windows for that end of the house when we put in the basement. I took my time and compared them board for board. And I found a gap in one of them. 

I wouldn't say I ran to find some putty to fill the gap, but I might have. After I filled that gap, the main earwig problem went away. We still get them inside now and then in the years when there are lots of them. This summer there are lots of them. My spiritual lesson in July on years like this is to make peace with them again. As much as I can. They still creep me out.