Dillon Collins – The Good, The Bad, The Black Flies

There are sights and sounds and smells of summer – smell of barbecue, splash of a pool-side cannon- ball, sight of a setting sun over your perfectly pristine lakeside cabin. 

These are things that can act as triggers that can transport you through decades to a particular piece of zig-zagged memory. You can hit summer 93 with that first sip of Corona, summer 77 with the whip of a fishing line, summer 2015 picturing yourself frozen solid while listening to Rod the Bod ramble out Hot Legs on the radio. 

Bane of My Existence

For me, my portal to summer’s past has and always will be reserved for one thing. FLIES! THE G-D BANE OF MY EXISTENCE! Black flies, to be precise. My summers in outport Newfoundland and Labrador were dominated by the black fly. 

There are things you take for granted with city life. No, we St. John’s ‘townies’ aren’t exactly living the high life the same way as you expect the metropolitan dwellers of big city New York City or smoggy Toronto – at least I’m not – but there is one thing that gives me comfort when the temps spike and days grow longer. 

I can hit the deck without being barbarized by swarms upon swarms of Satan’s personal blood-suckers. 

No reasonable God would conjure up those. There’s no easier way than that to voice my displeasure of the little buggers, and that has only grown ten-fold since I’ve moved to town nearly a decade ago. 

I don’t remember being drove quite so mad when I was a kid. I recall tub loads of calamine lotion, those stanky repellents and the windy twisty burners that you’d find in every cabin on the island, but I don’t recall ever being driven inside by the onslaught of never ending hoards of carnivorous insects. 

Nish or Not?

Now when I head round the bay anytime between June and September (please feel free to correct me on peak fly season friends) I can scarcely sit outside long enough to let out my curses, and I’ve been known to let those fly fairly quickly. 

Perhaps I’ve grown soft, or nish as we Newfoundlanders say, but I’d rather get kicked southside with steel toe boots by David Beckham than drive myself mental scratching bug bites. 

The funny bit about my entire intolerance to the buzzing bits of annoyance is that, even in those most hateful moments, I still think fondly of summers in Newfoundland. 

Remember it Fondly

In Rural Newfoundland, there’s something magical about it that can’t quite be captured or cultivated in our row housing tourism ads with the little girl running through the grass while the clothes line rustles from here to Bell Island – you know the one. 

And while I love being a townie – I definitely have the disposition for one – summers in on da’town are a far cry from the bay days, where everything felt longer (in a good way), and those maximized moments mattered.

I’ll remember it all fondly – the good, the bad, the black flies. 

Dillon Collins, The Herald’s Staff Writer, can be reached by emailing [email protected]

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *