Grasshoppers are a real problem

Grasshoppers are a real problem for the country gardener. Munch, munch, munch they eat eight times as fast in proportion to their weight as cattle do in the Flint Hills. And a bazillion of them chomp down on the corn, chard, kale, eggplant, beans. Fall signals the females to deposit their egg pods into the soil. The male is about half the size of the female. The hens love them no matter what size. When I approach their pen they go mad with desire for the grasshoppers I bring. Whoever catches one races and darts with a madcap agility so that it can gobble it up. Often the grasshopper, dangling in its beak, is snatched by another hen.

My dad told stories of grasshoppers during the drought in the thirties eating the paint off the side of their house in Lindsborg. Even lead poisoning didn’t stop them from eating holes in shirts on the clothesline. They eat through the mesh screening on the back porch. Their industry amazes me.

Over 18,000 species of these critters can be found, and in almost every climate. They cycle through three stages of development: egg, nymph and adult. They spend most of their time in the egg and they emerge as nymphs without wings. They shed their skin many times before becoming an adult. They have two kinds of eyes. Their large, compound eyes are made up of thousands of little eyes that allow them to see forward, backward, and sideways for a long distance. They also have three small single eyes. They are well designed to thrive and prosper.

While they can make gardening tough, their resilience and ability to see in all directions inspires me. Mainline churches face rapidly declining membership. The number of people who are not aligned with a faith community grows larger. Yet people remain hungry for connection to community and meaning in their lives. Unitarian Universalism provides so many access points for people to find their way to our progressive faith. If we follow our vision statement we will be vibrant, open, and inspirational in what we say and do. We will, with a deep understanding of our heritage, who we are today, and focusing on who we want to become, be industrious builders of bridges across faith; a visible beacon of liberal religious messages of hope and meaning; a bold model of love!

Our Fellowship is well designed to thrive and prosper. Let us take full advantage of our diversity, our many ways of seeing and focus with compassion to help keep a young woman who comes out to her family as a lesbian from killing herself, helping immigrants find safe pathways to citizenship, visiting those whose mobility confines how much they can do and let’s celebrate our ever deepening connection! Let us like grasshoppers jump twenty times our length.

Michael

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