It seems that my previous post about monstrous numbers of ticks near Lake Dimmick echoed a very old pattern. My friend Lizzie Motlow reminded me that the old name for the Lake Dimmick area is “Tick Bush.” Readers familiar with Sewanee history will remember that Ely Green’s autobiography from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries features a number of encounters with residents of the Tick Bush area. I had not, until now, known the exact location of Tick Bush.
Jerry Smith and Sean Suarez’s Sewanee Places corroborates this Acarine geography. They write that Tick Bush was down the hill from “Summit” or Midway. The two locations even had different schools. Smith and Suarez’s account places Tick Bush close to the present day airport, just two thousand feet upstream from where Lake Dimmick is located.
I think we can now say, with the confidence that comes from replicated quantified samples, that Tick Bush remains firmly planted on the map.
Now for some relief from discussions of ectoparasites… Ticks were not the only animals in evidence. The following male Black Swallowtail was nectaring on the thistles in the University’s cattle pasture. His beauty is a nice antidote to the creepiness of the skin-crawling masses emerging from Tick Bush’s bushes.