A grasshopper became trapped in my kitchen. I found it perched on the handle of my patio door. At first I tried to photograph it. The structure of a grasshopper has always fascinated me. It appears to be a green skeleton that was never fleshed out, a prototype for a small animal that escaped before completion or the attempt of a popular mechanics class to design an insect – all hinges, joints and googly eyes.
It hopped away and I forgot about it until the following morning when I found it jumping against the glass of the patio door, smacking into it and falling backwards, gathering its composure and then trying again. It would sit in between attempts, “ What’s happening here? Why do I keep coming up against this invisible wall?” It was getting discouraged. I opened the door in the hope that it would make a dash to freedom. It wouldn’t budge. It had tried and tried and was not going to be fool enough to try again. I took some papers and tried to coax it to out. Have you ever tried to control the direction of a grasshopper’s hop? Finally I got it on a paper and carried it out. I checked on it a few minutes later and it had made its way back to the patio door, from the outside and was now looking in, meditating perhaps on the pain of existentialism. I think I am related to that grasshopper. I’ve been there man!
Dieter frowning over his new Bosch drill instructions
Dieter was reading the flyers the other evening and I commented on the pleasure he seems to get from them. He responded, quite joyfully, “There are so many things that I don’t need!”
My friend Dorothy Moses died recently. Dorothy had a rather solitary lifestyle that gave her time to ponder. On first glance she appeared to be removed from the world. She chose to keep apart – never made a good follower – and yet she was more engaged in the ‘workings’ of the world than most people I know. She was interested in nature and science. She didn’t waste her mind on ‘junk mail’ but collected things that were worth remembering. I tend to read to forget, amuse and to escape. Dorothy read to acquire.
I learned something from Dorothy not too long before she died. I had expressed amazement that her memory was keen, even at 92, and she told me that after reading something she reviewed it again and again in her mind until it made a memory. I have always told myself that I have a poor memory but perhaps it is a matter of me not investing in the quiet time of reflection that is necessary for remembering. Too often I immediately hurry on to something else. However, I have come to recognize the advantages of having a poor memory – I forget, for the most part, unpleasant things and painful times. Some people can’t do that. They dwell on every insult or injury. The cumulative effect of such things can make a person weary. It’s called baggage. I try to travel more lightly.
I found a shard of old china in the gravel at the edge of the road yesterday as Quincy and I walked to the beach. It was about 1 inch square, similar size as two other shards that I found a month ago. The first two were in the soil on the corner of my property where the power company had recently put in a new pole. The third one was one and a half kilometer away. Intriguing. Last fall a great deal of work was done on the Cape St Mary’s Rd. It’s possible that all three shards came from the same source – wherever the gravel came from. I feel like I should combine them in a piece of art but am unsure how. And so my mind travels back and forth between the mysteries of the past, – where did they come from? What are their stories? To the mystery of the future – what will I make of them?
I live a scavenged life, (it is a wonderful thing), crafting papier-mâché from bad news, reading rain clouds like gift cards. It is as natural to me as the accommodating twist of a branch around a boulder. I collect things like a bend in a river. I redefine debris. I’m captivated by rot, enthralled by rust, spellbound by the magic of seeds. I can go either way- death and deterioration, life and growth. Either way it is change; inanimate objects compelled by unseen forces to reconfigure themselves. Nature showing its multi-disciplined creativity.