A large gray-green grasshopper hit with a clack on my shirt, and stood on my shoulder, panting. "Boo," I said, and it clattered off. It landed on a grass head several yards away. The grass bucked and sprang from the impact like a bronc, and the grasshopper rode it down. When the movement ceased, I couldn't see the grasshopper.
This little passage is all part of a larger section of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek in which Dillard discusses grasshoppers and locusts and transformation. Summer is coming to an end, and the landscape is changing. The hot August days are giving way to the cool of September. The world is transforming, like grasshoppers whipped into a locust frenzy.
Summer in the Upper Peninsula is winding down. Next weekend, it's Labor Day, sort of the unofficial end of the summer season. In the United States, it's one last time to go camping or travel or grill hamburgers and hot dogs before the festivities of autumn begin in earnest--school and Friday night football and, for me, teaching. It really is a time of transformation.
My brother took my son on a fishing trip. Picked him up yesterday and will return him on Sunday, much dirtier and happier. This afternoon, I will be taking my daughter school clothes shopping, if I can get past the eye rolling and sighing. She will complain because I am forcing her to alter her plans, which probably entailed squirreling herself away in her bedroom with her new phone. However, eventually, she will enjoy herself. Or I will drop her off at a homeless shelter.
I find this time of the year a little disorienting. Half the people I know are still in summer mode, and the other half have already slipped into fall mode. We all have our feet in two seasons, not willing to let go of one, not willing to step into the other. We are half-grasshopper and half-locust.
Me? I think I'm coming down with a cold. My throat is a little scratchy, Hurts to swallow some things. Of course, it could be allergies, as well. I have never really suffered from seasonal allergies that much, but I have to admit that I'm getting older. My body may be going through a little transformation of its own. Or it might just be a coming-of-autumn cold.
Stay tuned. Saint Marty may be growing wings and antenna.