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Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Wind in the Cuticle

A male greybird grasshopper (Schistocerca nitens) is fairly well-hidden among the lavender foliage in the thin winter midday sunshine. I didn't realize he was getting ready to molt, but that was made obvious to me when I found his cast off cuticle the following day in the same spot, twitching in the fresh wind like the holiday wreath shriveled past its usefulness. The grasshopper is now an adult and won't change or grow anymore, but will seek food and a mate before his days are done. We humans are not so wedded to rigid exoskeletons but can add to or take away from our fleshy countenances if our will allows it. However adult we might be, we do tend to continue changing, and start new enterprises with the opening of a new year or the change of a season or because we read about something and it sounded cool. The current local weather, smartly windy with a bright hopeful sky overhead, is certainly doing its part to encourage such foolish behaviors.

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