Friday, February 19, 2016

February 18: Grasshoppers, Divine Plan, Winter Weather

I had stepped into the meadow to feel the heat and catch a glimpse of the sky, but these grasshoppers demanded my attention, and became an event in themselves.  Every step I took detonated the grass.  A blast of bodies like shrapnel exploded around me; the air burst and whirred.  There were grasshoppers of all sizes, grasshoppers yellow, green, and black, short-horned, long-horned, slant-faced, bad-winged, spur-throated, cone-headed, pygmy, spotted, striped and barred.  They sprang in salvos, dropped in the air, and clung unevenly to stems and blades with their legs spread for balance, as redwings ride cattail reeds.  They clattered around my ears, they ricocheted off my calves with an instant clutch and release of tiny legs.

Dillard is constantly surprised by the natural world, whether the reflection of clouds in Tinker Creek, praying mantis cocoons, or hoards of invading grasshoppers.  In Dillard's mind, there is something sacred in the very messiness of these phenomenon.  She does not see the universe as a victim of chaotic happenstance.  There is an order (even if we, in our limited human way,) cannot see it.

Tomorrow morning, I am supposed to teach poetry to my son's second grade class.  Tonight, winter has returned to the Upper Peninsula in the form of freezing rain and snow.  Winter weather advisories are in force until early Friday.  My daughter just danced through our living room, announcing that she could hear rain slapping the kitchen window.  She is hoping that the rain will beget ice will beget snow will beget ice will beget a school cancellation.

I, on the other hand, am not thrilled with the notion of a school cancellation.  For the entire week, I have been preparing my poetry lesson.  I have my visuals done.  I have my handouts copied.  All week long, I have been showing up to work early, working late, in order to have enough time off for this classroom visit.  And now, there may not be school tomorrow.  Messiness.  Chaos.

If I were Dillard, I suppose I would be looking for some kind of divine plan in all this.  Perhaps I am being spared some kind of tragedy.  Or, maybe, I needed the extra sleep.  I am too tired to contemplate God's mind right now.  If there is school tomorrow, I will show up and teach my son and his classmates about poetry.  If there is no school tomorrow, I will go back to bed.

For the record, Saint Marty does believe in a divine plan.  Also for the record, he hates grasshoppers.

A completely unrelated cartoon . . .

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