I have had company for the past few weeks. My borrowed house has a glassed-in front porch facing southwest and it gets quite warm every afternoon with the beautiful prairie sunshine streaming in. So the windows and the floor are covered with these bugs. Fortunately, a rare visitor on the first day of my retreat came to see me and identified the little critters basking in the heat. Otherwise I might have been spooked. I still am, sort of. A few of them have come into the house. I don't mind that much but I don't like them on my papers or in my bedclothes. I try not to bother them, though I have squished a few who were invading my space. I wouldn't like to wake up with one crawling on my face. I was very influenced by Albert Schweitzer, the reverence-for-life doctor, so I try not to kill any creatures. If a bee or a wasp gets into the house I put a glass over it and a card over the glass and shake it outside. I'm not so good with mosquitos. Anyway, here we are, the boxelders and me. I looked them up on Wikipedia and it confirmed what I had already observed, that they get fooled in the fall by unexpected warmth and come out from hiding to congregate. My only acquaintance with boxelder bugs before now had been with a book of poetry by the Icelandic-American writer Bill Holm, "Boxelder Bugs Variations". I have the book but it's at home, so I had to go to Wikipedia again: ".Bill Holm, of Minneota, Minnesota creatively tackles the subject of the Boxelder bug. This thin volume includes cleverly written poetry, essays and music on the theme of the Boxelder Bug. Example...from p. 26 'The Minnesota UnderTaker, Thinking Perhaps of Future Business, Looks Me Square in the Eye During Men's Night at the Golf Course, And Says: 'I thought of you last night as I flicked a boxelder bug off my lapel.' At times humorous, at times contemplative, and at times downright weird, Holm has created a truly unique book filled with off-the-wall poetry and prose." He was a weird man, proud of his Icelandic heritage - that's how I met him. He had strong opinions about vinarterta, the iconic cake that moved to Canada and the States with the first Icelandic immigrants. Bill was adamant that it should be 5 layers and un-iced whereas many felt it should be 7 and frosted with vanilla icing. Bill died a few years ago at age 65. He looked like Santa Claus. Most Icelandic men (even hyphenated ones, like Canadian or American) do. Icelandic men end up either very lean or round with white beards. The women mostly look like sweet little butterballs. you see what I'm up against? My Icelandic genes versus Weight Watchers. Just think what I'd look like if I didn't keep fighting. I'm a slave to my DNA, like the boxelder bugs.