I’d rather (NOT) be staked to an anthill after all

The first leg of the 2011 Family Vacation began this morning, uneventfully, at around 7:30 am.  The trip over the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, well into the muggy depths of South Carolina and into the swampy terrain in South Georgia went at a fairly fast pace.  There was a good bit of traffic and actual congestion in some places, but the Indie certified driver I was following changed lanes at the speed of light with very little use of that little stick on the steering wheel that makes either the left or right back light blink, depending on which way you are swerving… i mean merging.  Not far from Savannah, we decided, as I was begging for food, to stop for lunch at Burger King®.  I was in the mood for a hamburger and didn’t really care where it came from.  My family, willing to accommodate me as I think they were close to collapse from hunger themselves, were just as happy to be at Burger King®  as I was.  After eating my junior whopper without ketchup and what onion rings Sophie didn’t steal from me, I hurried outside to photograph one of my favorite things… Spanish Moss.  It was hanging from the branches of the huge trees like the tresses of some long ago princess, blowing in the hot breeze of a South Georgia Summer, but unperturbed by the heat or the wind, it was just there and it was beautiful.  I managed to get several shots with my Pentax, but being an avid droidographer as well, (a phrase used by a fellow tweep, @Curt Fleenor), I wanted to get some shots on my motodroid.  There were several  large trees all with an ample amount of the lovely moss hanging, in places, nearly to the ground.  As it was a public place with an access road passing by, I wanted to be certain that I wasn’t in the road.  It is hard for me to concentrate on anything other than the subject once I get started photographing something and being ran over by a passing car was not on my list of things to do today.  Between the access road and the Burger King® parking lot, there was a lovely little patch of grassy-looking flowers with some shrubs in the middle.  It looked like the perfect oasis to stand while I scouted the best vantage point for the droiding shoot.  I stepped into the grassy mound which seemed to sink under my feet.  I remember thinking it reminded me of a bog-like area at the top of Sammy’s Hill near my home.  Before the thought was complete in my mind, I felt this intense burning sensation.  I looked down and, much to my horror, I could not see my feet or, two inches above my ankles, my legs.  They were red with FIRE ANTS.  Now, such beating, jumping and swiping you have never seen.  I had heard of fire ants and their ability to cover their intended victim quickly, but had never, first hand, experienced anything like this.  I counted, once I was certain all the ants were off my person, 72 bites on my feet an ankles.  Now while that number seems really high, at least to me, it is important to remember that the ants were on my person no longer than ten seconds.  The other important thing to remember and one I am trying not to find fascinating, is that there were hundreds of them.  It was appalling, frightening, horrifying and completely, totally enthralling that they could do what they did in so little time.  As completely befuddling as it was to my parents and, if I have to say it, to myself, I consider it a rite of passage that I was deep in the Southern recesses of Georgia where the Spanish Moss grows, photographing a beautiful thing of nature and was attacked by fire ants.  It may seem lame that it was in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant and it may make some folks roll their eyes and think that my sister was right and that I am a dork.  I don’t deny it anymore than I deny getting a real taste of Savannah was a cool experience, even if it did require benadryl to thwart a potentially severe allergic reaction.  While I’ve never had a severe reaction to an insect bite, I’ve never been bitten by so many at the same time.  I’m sure the patrons of the restaurant thought I was having a seizure, but no one came to see if I were dying.  After the initial OMStars! moment, I found it to be pretty neat.  I have decided, however, that this experience has taught me two things.  First, it turns out that, after all is said and done, I actually would prefer to go to WalMart than be staked to an anthill.  While I hope not to be devoured by an alligator or attacked by a rogue dolphin while in Florida, I do hope for some more interesting, fascinating and OMStars moments in my otherwise boring life.  I could just have easily been in the wilds of Africa or deep in the Rain Forest for all the excitement I felt at this small, though painful, event.  Who knew that being staked to  (well, actually just stepping on, but staked to sounds more profound) an anthill could make me feel so proud to be a photographer.  I guess there are some things that are only to be understood by a photographer’s heart. And second on the list of things this experience taught me… it was so worth it to get shots of the moss that so fascinates me.  So it was, in the end, since I didn’t have an anaphylactic reaction and die, a quite remarkable experience and as I said, well worth the pain of a few hundred biting, stinging, itch-inducing, burning-sensation causing, ants.  With such an experience on the first day, well before our destination was reached, I can hardly contain my excited expectations of what I will experience tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that.  I love being a photographer, even when it hurts.  Tomorrow is a new day and I can’t wait to see what awaits…

One response to “I’d rather (NOT) be staked to an anthill after all

  1. Happened just as stated. I was there!!!

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