Sep 13, 2008


After September 7th's post, I never saw Grasshopper on my car again. Tonight, as I sat on my patio, exploiting the wireless signal from some unknown neighbor, drinking coffee and getting lost in the depths of Wikipedia, this little fellow happened upon my screen. I set the computer down gently, ran and got my camera, and snapped this.

He's still there, antennae twitching, as I write. Young guy, looks like.

Sep 7, 2008

I Admire Your Tenacity, Young Grasshoppa.

Snapped this on my commute home Friday.

Perhaps you're familiar with these grasshoppers that have an incredible bright green color when they're very young. The entire body--eyes, head, abdomen, legs, antennae--is the same unreal color, like a delicate toy cast in plastic. (Their blood is green, according to Wikipedia.) Well, I spotted one chilling on the trunk of our car last Wednesday, as we headed out for errands. When I saw what appeared to be the same grasshopper on Thursday morning, I assumed that it was one of the original's cousins, maybe just attracted to the warmth of a dark-colored car.

Driving home on Friday, I was shocked to see the same grasshopper again, this time clinging to my side-view mirror, safely out of the wind, and I concluded that this was no coincidence. I spent the entire drive fumbling with my camera's exposure and flash, hoping to get a decent shot before he was inevitably gone, voluntarily or involuntarily. He appeared (Could it be?) ever so slightly larger, and a slightly less vibrant shade of green. "Wow, he's growing up fast," I thought.

I shared the pictures with my wife and visiting in-laws at dinner, and we all found it an amusing story.

We didn't drive anywhere on Saturday, and I didn't see him or think of him when we were running errands this Sunday afternoon. But we went out again tonight, and my wife and I thought of him, theorized what it all could mean, thought how ridiculous it would be to see him again. Jaime asked where on the car I'd seen him at the different times, and I told her it didn't seem like he had a particular favorite spot.

Not thirty seconds later, I shrieked when I saw him clinging to the windshield, resisting the 40 mph headwind. I slowed to a manageable 35 mph, Jaime narrated his every move, and I tried to focus on driving safely.

"Oh no, he's facing the wrong way, the wind is pulling at his wings!" she said. "Okay, he's turned back around....He's licking all his feet."

"He's licking his feet?! He licked all six feet?"

"No, just four... He didn't lick the back two... Okay, he's licking the fifth one now, he just needs to get the last one... Okay, he's got the last one, are you going to pull over?"

"Yes, there's a pull-out just ahead."

"What are you going to do? You know you can't help him," Jaime said, guarding the integrity of the symbolism.

"I know, I know. I just want to get another picture of him."

We pulled off, got out of the car, and tried not to startle him. He was still for a minute while I fired off a dozen pictures, and then he made his way across the top of the car to the rear windshield, where he stayed put.

Feeling a little better about that location, and with nothing left to do, we shrugged our shoulders, got back in, and resumed our outing.

As you can see in the final picture, his color has definitely changed. The green is almost completely gone. Soon I expect the yellow to be replaced with the dull brown/gray of maturity.

I will be inspecting the car regularly now and updating the blog daily until I'm sure he has left for good.

This must be how Tony Soprano felt about the ducklings in his swimming pool.


Grasshopper was a nice catalyst for a blog post.

I haven't posted in over a month, for reasons that are, ostensibly, good. I found work as an editor for the handbook and internal documents of a local health care management organization. Soon after starting there, I landed the news internship I'd been praying for at a well regarded alt-weekly, here in Portland. So I'm writing a ton, and loving it, but it doesn't leave much mental energy (or time) to apply to the blog. Furthermore, I'm studying for the GRE's (September 28th is the big day!), researching PhD programs and the possibility of moving, and trying to be a better husband and father, in support of my wife pursuing her professional and personal goals, and in support my own desire to be a less selfish person.

From one angle, all that logistical stuff should be wrapped up in a couple of months, and I could be feeling freer, riding the little bike more, blogging more. From another, I know that life tends to get more complicated, and I may never really feel "less busy."

Anyone else familiar with this sensation? My wife and I talk about the concept of "motion" all the time. Our life seems to follow a pattern, where we periodically end up complacent or stuck, not sure which goals we are working towards. Then one little event happens to energize us, and all of the sudden, life is crazy and flying by. And it's not just "I need a different job," and I start looking. It's like, when the motion kicks in, every aspect of our lives--professional, educational, creative, spiritual, emotional, personal, family--starts changing and advancing.

Thanks for reading. More on grasshopper tomorrow.