Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Suburban Jungle

I often lose sight of the placement of my home in the midst of the sagebrush. With concrete between me and the earth, surrounded by pressboard, paint and other constructions, I have to lose sight of it.

The year of the Ox is supposed to be one of stoic maintenance, moving forward constantly without much upheaval or change. We have been upheaved or at least unsettled since the Chinese New Year. That is when the crickets seemed to move in. It was particularly cold. There were a few here and there... just enough to entertain and frighten the kids. We didn't have a plague of them, just a few. They are good luck but I couldn't keep them inside, so I would catch them each and release outside figuring the let-live karma was better than the entrapment.

Monday I took the day off to see the kids activities. When swinging into the driveway my daughter yells "Mom! Bug! Bug!". A grasshopper had jumped in through the window of my moving car. And this was no cute, little rpophessagr but a huge, Bug's Life Melanoplus differentialis. He/she quickly wedged into the back window head first... apparently "reverse" isn't a gear grasshoppers go into. I grabbed the wings and tried to pull and got fingers kicked for my trouble. Donning gloves, I was able to put him/her out of my car and into a glass vase for the boys to see after school.

That morning, Dick and I couldn't figure out why there were sticks all over the balcony. That evening, we heard cooing. We had us a pair of nesting doves in our eaves. They would perch on the balcony rail and watch through the window trying to decide, I guess, if we were safe... or if they would be. I guess they decided we were ok.

I ran in the water reclaimation/wilderness park near my office. The migratory birds are not back yet. Just a flit here and there from the smaller birds and the lizards. It made me wonder about the confidence that size brings. The tiny brown birds dart from bush to bush, hiding, flitting and using their speed to survive. The cranes and herons that frequent the lakes do no such thing. They stand and prance, almost daring you closer, at which point they fly off in long, slow, graceful arcs to sit atop a high perch; it is amazing to see such large birds perched in trees after seeing them in the path nearly looking me in the eye.

The crickets are gone. The grasshopper was released to the rose garden. Dick came home yesterday to more sticks on the patio and a broken, tiny egg. The doves have not returned. Life. It's a funny thing.