by Kelley McArthur

There are some things I just don’t understand, and for the longest time it was bugs. If I as much as saw a creature with more than four legs grazing my bedroom ceiling, I was already high-tailing it downstairs to send my dad on squash patrol. Sure, I knew that spiders ate a lot of pesky insects that would otherwise chew up plants, but that didn’t matter much to me.  However, those days have since disappeared and new ones have come—ones filled with ripping up weeds, clawing through dirt, and watering parched ground, and I have developed a liking for these creepy-crawlies that find refuge in the forest of grass blades and tomato vines.

While many bugs I have seen, touched and found interesting throughout this summer, the grasshopper has stolen my heart. Hidden among vegetation as a treasure in a forest, they appear at the most unexpected of moments—like the surprise of a good friend or the first bite of food after a long day. Their tender bodies leap carefree and teasing–their presence that of fleeting summer moments, delicate and bright in my hand—memories of days spent with watermelon down my chin, dirt underneath my fingernails, and laughter I can’t contain. While they flee at the touch—and even the sight, sometimes—I still delight in them, and enjoy knowing they are around me, even if I can’t see them.

Lately, I have been struggling with the knowledge that things don’t last forever. I want to hold on to this place and everything it entails, but it is as water in my hands, and the tighter that I hold on, the faster it goes. Maybe sometime in the future I will be able to better understand the reason for having to leave this place I have come to enjoy—dare I say love?—over these past few months, and return to school. And maybe, throughout this time (and time is what it seems to usually take), I will rip up some of my life’s weeds, claw through some more dirt and continue watering. Maybe after immersing myself in my own dirt, I will be able to see tiny gems hidden among my life—gems that had disguised themselves as foreign creatures, a nuisance and repulsive at the sight, when really, they had been as inextricable to my life as my own skin. Maybe then I will be able to understand their beauty.

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