July 12, 2021
On the last day in June, the space outside my front door was invaded by magical creatures. I had to do a double take when I left the house, rubbing my eyes to make sure they weren’t being deceived. Hundreds of fluffy white something-or-others were drifting past my face and bobbing gently in an air current.
These were not your friendly neighborhood cottonwood fluff. They had solid, dark heads, like upside-down dandelion seeds. They were clearly animals, but they made no sound and I couldn’t tell if they were in control of their motions. As I arrived at my car, I still wasn’t sure I hadn’t just gone crazy from lack of sleep.
Over the next week, I coexisted with the “fairy bugs”. I avoided inhaling any or letting any into the house. I also avoided asking about them, because I had no words to describe what I was seeing in a rational way. Later, without having to ask, I learned that this magic show is an annual event. And the critters have a name: woolly aphids.
For me, giving them a name didn’t detract from their beauty. Would we ever say that fireflies are less magical because we know what they’re called?
The point of this story is not the clichéd “there’s magic in the little things”. It’s that my town is so magical that, at least for a minute, I believed these creatures were not of this world. I hope you all get the chance to feel this way about your own home places. These stories are worth a thousand facts.