There is a mosquito in here. I can hear the tiny whine of her fluttering wings as she circles above me in the dark, waiting until I let my guard down, waiting for me to drift off to sleep. I know she’s up there somewhere, but her faint sound gives me little indication or target, even so, I flail and slap at the air in a futil attempt to strike her down.
It’s too hot to hide under the blankets. I lay mostly naked, clad only in my boxers and socks, exposed flesh ripe and inviting to her blood-thirsty quest. Sometimes I feel the soft tickle and think she has landed. I slap my skin even though I know it’s only a ghost bite, my mind playing paranoid tricks on me. I know she will win in the end. She will attack when I least expect it. She will take my blood.
I stayed in Davy Crockett Nat’l Forest for a couple of days. They have some nice hiking trails and bike paths. There was a backpacking trail near there, but it was one of those hikes that starts here and ends 20 miles someplace else. I couldn’t figure out how to do it.
The next day I visited Hot Springs, Arkansas. This is the place where families go to vacation. There are amusement parks, water parks, wax museums, petting zoos, shopping, dining, you name it! All the fun you can imagine.
It started back at the turn of the century. Everyone who was anyone wanted to travel to Hot Springs to bath in the therapeutic and curative natural spring water. Entrepreneurs happily built rows of bath houses, promising to cure all sorts of ailments with there miracle waters. Patrons willingly spent a week or more soaking their afflictions away.
I toured one restored bathhouse (now under management by the Park Service) and strolled along the path where 140 degree water seeps from the base of a hill. It is very hot! Do you think I put my finger in it?