Paddling, deer flies everywhere. They bite me through my gloves and I swat them off my hips where they bite me through my pants. But then they land on my deck bag and clean their colorful eyes with their filamentous legs, and I can’t help but think they’re cute. It’s sort of amazing—they risk their very lives to get a bite of me. I’m glad my meals don’t involve a very real threat of death. When I kill one, I marvel at the perfection of their tiny iridescent wings. I throw it in the water, and hope a fish enjoys the meal.
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Alyssum Pohl is paddling the Mississippi River and documenting water quality and plastic waste along the way.