Born To Swarm

They swept across a helpless land – growing and quiet.  In 1857, 1874, 1915 and 1937 clattering clouds blotted out the sun like a black glove snuffing the wick of a candle, or a black froth of water bursting into the sky.  In 1957 they attacked Chicago.  God inflicted ten plagues upon Egypt – it was probably the eighth one that did the trick.

They imposed despair, destruction and disgust on their huddled victims as they attacked in waves, leaving behind them chewed and digested fields; erased harvests.

And this past weekend I saw one of their sentries.

Its size was as fearsome as its history.  Boyfriend estimated it to be about four inches long.  I had him hold a quarter next to it, just to get an idea of comparative size.  But all it did was snatch the coin out of his hand and put it in its pocket.

I ran inside.  A combination of wickedness and greed was more than I could face.

And yet, the horror was fascinating:  it held a type of unhealthy pull over me.  I sat on the other side of the door – protected by the 1/4" plate of glass – and stared.  It was slow.  It was smug.  It leisurely stretched out a leg as one would do in cramped seating on a crowded plane.  It stepped into a spider web, long out of use and now as strong as shredded lace.  It shood its head distastefully.

During the course of that weekend we saw four grasshoppers.  And as far as I'm concerned, that is a plague.

Guard your fields well.

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14 responses to “Born To Swarm

  1. Just reading about the swarms in the Little House books gave me the heebie-jeebies. If I'd ever been in a grashopper plague, I'd have been a quivering mass of protoplasm on the floor.

  2. There was a grasshopper plague where I lived as a kid. They ate the green paint off tractors and cars and the golf course was gone in about 10 minutes. I think a hairy caterpillar plague would be worse. My mother tells me she was around for one of them and she said you could hear them coming across the paddock. Chewing and wriggling along.

  3. Bleeeh! I hate giant bugs. I've never seen a locust, but I do have very vivid memories of the seven-year cicadas. *shiver*

  4. Haha! I used to keep them in glass jars, with a stick some leaves and a little moss. I would poke holes in the metal lid with a nail. I thought they were neat.

  5. Laurie – I would have turned to a pillar of salt. I would have gone spontaneously insane. I can't imagine what I would do.
    Cat – CATERPILLAR PLAGUE??? Can there be such a thing? It's unspeakable! Unfanthomable! Oh…the evil there is in this world.
    Alex – Giant bugs. What is the point? What service do they provide? Who do they work for? I just don't understand.
    Lavender – I have a good friend who is constantly chiding me for my hatred of crickets. Grasshoppers are interesting, I'll grant you, as are all of nature's creatures. But this one was the SIZE OF MY FOOT. Interest, I'm afraid, gave way to panic.

  6. I can't even look at your photos. I used to get the willies just shelving bug books when I worked in the library. I don't know how you stood there and watched it even through glass.

  7. the caption of your pictures.My only bad bug memory is of an invasion of millions of tiny insects with huge paper like wings in our hostel. They had a very short life. When they died, the air smelled like rotten eggs. We found dead bodies in our books for months.If they had been as big as this hopper, I would have left college.

  8. Ewww! But, you could of course, take advantage of this and start dipping them in chocolate. I've heard they are quite good that way, but I could be wrong.

  9. Four, eh? You crack me up.

  10. I remember a year where they ate everything and just generally were everywhere you looked or stepped. It was scary and gross. But seen abstractly like this, they are actually fascinating and pretty.

  11. Way to big. ewwwwwwwww

  12. Eeek! [Screams like a girl]

  13. Laurie – I've often tried to analyze my fear, but come to no conclusions. It runs deep.
    Purplesque – See? Giant insects are standing in the way of our childrens' education!. They are evil!
    HHetta – Please. The only good bug is a dead bug.
    Disenchanted Daisy – It seems that you're hiding a story here. What is it? Yes – four of any type of insect is overdoing it, and completely unnecessary.
    emily – It's true. Any construction of nature's is stunning: both in beauty and craftmanship. If only I can feel…safe from insects, I could tolerate them so much more!
    SMisery – Exactly. Someone made a mistake.
    Riss – You know, whenever I undergo a 'bug meltdown', Boyfriend always gets impatient with me. Doesn't he get it?

  14. My view of hoppers is neutral. Until I'm consumed alive by a swarm.

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