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.