I had only been exercising mindfully for a couple of months when I was attacked by Satan’s sperm.
Having been inspired by Michael Hyatt’s book Your Best Year Ever, I had started working in the emotional and spiritual domains by using affirmations and meditation. Spring came despite my efforts to hold it back; it was time for me to start working on my physical goals. I had procrastinated enough already.
Buying an above ground pool was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I may have mentioned that a few times, and I probably will again. That lopsided (not quite flat, leaving one side always dumping water when I splash around and the other side permanently perilously low to dropping below the intake) pool is a MIRACLE WORKER. I have Rheumatoid Disease (AKA, as Jessica Jones’ title-makers would say, Rheumatoid Arthritis, AKA, Shark in the Bathtub, Monster in the Bed), and so pain is that squatter I can’t quite get rid of, despite serving it with multiple eviction notices.
The pool is a MIRACLE WORKER because, after just a few minutes of moving around in it when the water is warm and the sun is hot, I’m pretty much as pain-free as I have ever been. Because my energy level plummets after work (actually, during, if I’m absolutely honest), exercising before work is the only real time I can devote to it with consistency. By making it part of my early morning routine, I am able to enjoy a level of mobility and decreased pain for the majority of my day.
I developed exercises, loosely based on physical therapy exercises, that have strengthened my legs, arms, and core. They’ve also helped with flexibility in my fingers, legs, toes, hips, and knees. And supposedly helped with balance. Come to think of it, I haven’t tripped lately. Almost, but not quite. And definitely no falls.
So double yay.
I would run through the exercises before work, and sometimes, when I am super ambitious, after work as well. ‘Cause warm water and hot sun rock.
It was probably about halfway through the summer that I discovered something floating around that looked like sperm with forked tails. I had grown accustomed to bugs in the pool; I had skimmed more dive-bombing and decidedly suicidal beetles, wasps, spiders, and lovebugs than I thought ever existed over this summer. I had even almost accepted the occasional tree roach–whisked away at first sight–that had failed basic swim lessons.
But this was something different. They didn’t seem to move other than with the movement of the water, but the sight of them freaked me out. THEY LOOKED LIKE SATAN’S SPERM. And there were zillions of them. I was Rambo, bearing a skimmer rather than a machine gun, ready to bring about World War III. I recalled a line from The West Wing’s Jed Bartlet:
“I’m not frightened. I’m going to blow them off the face of the Earth with the fury of God’s own thunder.”
I was resolute, and yet, no matter how long I would stay in, scooping and tossing, I would always see more. Some were merely small, but still large enough to witness the forked tails that would haunt my nightmares. Others seemed just on the large side of microscopic.
But they floated, an act as aggressive as any storming of a castle. I would have made a smart ass remark to them, insulting their hamster of a mother and a father that smelled of elderberries, but I felt I was fighting a losing battle.
Instead I chose another tactic.
I bought another bag of salt, figuring I’d shrivel them like snails.
Because they were so damn tiny, I couldn’t really tell if they were alive or dead. They didn’t seem to move unless the water moved them; they weren’t wearing John Travolta’s suit and listening to disco. They didn’t even wiggle like mosquito larvae. I just knew that sooner or later, the salinity would have to kill them since I don’t normally have salt water aquatic life hanging out in the pool.
Although having a dolphin would be hella cool. I’m pretty certain I couldn’t afford an above ground pool the size of the Gulf of Mexico. Besides, even if I could, putting that thing together would be a bitch.
After 40 pounds of salt, I began skimming again, and after a few days, began seeing fewer of the little bastards. Finally.
When it appeared that most of them were gone with only an occasional forked-tail demon seed floating near the surface, I finally could breathe.
I hadn’t breathed in two months.
BECAUSE SATAN’S SPERM WAS IN MY POOL.
After a bit of research, I learned that they weren’t in fact demon seed, but instead dragonfly nymphs.
Those nasty little floaters would have one day become those glorious, graceful, and gorgeous dragonflies?
O! The guilt!
I felt guilty about shoveling them out into the grass to die and worried about all the mosquitoes that would survive because these nymphs would die before maturity. I just knew that all the not-yet-born mosquitoes would give all the dogs in all the world heartworms, and it would be my fault. Just because I didn’t let the nymphs hang out in my pool all summer.
All the dogs in all the world would die, and all the people who had all the dogs would cry. And it would be my fault.
I’m not so sure that’s true anymore, but I can’t be positive it’s wrong.
They looked like this, only really, really tiny. And without the third leg of the tripod tail. And in water. And looking more like sperm with forked tails and less like anything with legs.
Now I love me a dragonfly. In fact, I love all things dragonfly. Except their babies. I don’t want their children swimming around in my pool.
Come to think of it, even while swimming with what I thought were demon seed, I still managed to exercise every morning barring the one or two days when lightning wagged its finger at me to stay dry.
Now that’s commitment. At least for me.
I think next summer, I’ll keep extra salt on hand in case they come to visit again. Should the worst case scenario–their invasion–happen again next year, I’ll keep Monty Python insults at the ready and a bucket by the pool.
Maybe I can manage to get rid of them AND save them at the same time. Less guilt and fewer mosquitoes, unless the mosquitoes claim the bucket first.
I still don’t know why they laid their eggs in my pool: it’s both salt water AND the pump runs 8 hours a day or more during the summer. Supposedly, they only lay their eggs in still water.
But there are many things in this world I don’t understand. I’ll just add this to the list.
Random Weird Shit
Most of a dragonfly’s life is in its larval stage (AKA Satan’s demon seed). They live in water for up to two years and, on the wing, a few weeks to nearly a year. By attaching a tiny tracker (with eyelash adhesive no less), scientists have tracked one overly ambitious dragonfly 100 miles in a single day. They can also eat anywhere from 30 to hundreds of mosquitoes in a single day. According to Wikipedia, and citing an article in Ecology and general biology. Thorp and Covich’s Freshwater Invertebrates, a female can lay as many as 1500 eggs per clutch.
Source: The Smithsonian.