Chiggers and Things that Wiggle and Niggle and Gnaw

Chiggers and Things that Wiggle and Niggle and Gnaw

Yessa and I managed to get into a batch of chiggers. If that means nothing to you, let me elaborate through picture and word.

Chiggers are a type of arachnid. says, “Chiggers are barely visible to the naked eye (their length is less than 1/150th of an inch). A magnifying glass may be needed to see them. They are red in color and may be best appreciated when clustered in groups on the skin.” (Emphasis mine.)

Best appreciated when clustered in groups on the skin…someone with a keen sense of humor wrote that particular phrase. Chiggers cannot be appreciated. These bites are insanity inducers.

When I was a child, Dad used to warn me about chigger bites.

“You better get up outta’ that grass or you’ll get chigger bites.”

Since Dad normally issued his chigger warning when I was sitting or rolling around on the grass, as I look back with my newly-earned knowledge, if I had ever had a chigger infestation get hold of my butt for a feast, they would have had to sedate me, or call in the vet with a humane killer.

I never did get chigger bites as a child. In fact, until Yessa and I stumbled into our own little nest of chigger satans, I don’t recall ever having gotten chigger bites at all. Yessa and I have been scratching for weeks! Weeks! With no end in sight.

We try so hard not to itch. We’ve iced, we’ve soaked. Lotions, potions, prayer, meditation, ouija board, we’ve tried it all. Nothing has helped. The bites niggle and wiggle and get under your skin.

Shapely ankle, disfigured by  itchies
Shapely ankle, disfigured by itchies

I was sitting on our bed, scratching my ankles this morning when I realized the chigger bites are a painful, annoying, and very accurate depiction of the need to write that I have been fighting since SUUSI this summer. The writing workshop I took at SUUSI was a joy and a fire-lighter. I have been dreaming, planning, thinking of writing ever since.

Our life is very busy right now, as it is for most people. I’m not sure how or where to find the mental space and the physical time to write. Writing this blog is an easy, laughter-filled exercise for me, most of the time. I love recording our days for those who know and love us and wonder what we’re up to, as well as for our future selves who will look back and smile at these memories. When I hear Monkey cackling over previous posts, it is worth the time.

I’m talking about writing of a different nature. Essays that speak to the world, or at least speak to what I feel driven to write. I can’t ignore that internal itch any longer.

Despite all the scabs and groans caused by the chigger bites, I’m grateful for them this morning. Sometimes things that wiggle and niggle and gnaw cannot be ignored.