Monday, September 29, 2008

Cocoon Buffoonery

getting ready to get busy around here. Sara is working on a new PowerPoint presentation for our keynote in Springfield MO this coming Thursday – were getting extra fancy embedding some video clips and all kindsa teacher pleasin’ good stuff – that’s my job figuring out the file formats and compressions and placing the clips onto the external HD for her leisurely plucking. After our stint in the show me state I head to Texas for week long residency in storm ravaged Houston then back home for a couple days – two stops in PA and then we’re off to Cairo Egypt. You can scope out my schedule over there on the right and see that October is a whirlwind month in this house.

Speaking of this house – we are playing host to a road poet who is currently catching some Zzzzs in our guest room – Eirik Ott aka Big Poppa E is our houseguest for a couple days as he crisses across the sates on another of his tours. He too is a working poet/performer singing for his supper across the US of A.

The recent passing of my grandmother prompted a flurry of stories as we sat reminiscing. Here’s a quick one.

Behind our house as we grew up was a large open field with a hill we sledded on in the winter. During the spring the field leading to the hill seemed endlessly vast and was crammed with goldenrod and milkweed, grasshoppers, katydids, garter snakes, toads as big as Cornish hens and other creepy crawlies. I attest my usually robust constitution to my early years of playing in the dirt, chewing on sassafras twigs, eating stolen peaches without washing them and digging many many holes from sunup until the bell rang at night for dinner.

Forts were very important to me my brother and our friends Tom and Jay thus we made many of them usually by digging into the sandy soil until the holes were over our heads- then we would lay branches across the opening followed by a layer of leaves then another tier of soil. We had an insatiable urge shared by most preteen boys to become subterranean. These forts were damp and smelled of the wet clay that lay below the layer of sand. Of course this obsession also meant purloined candles were required for illumination or even a coffee can three quarters full with gasoline lit and placed in a niche carved into the wall. No one had ever told us about asphyxiation and I’m certain this lack of knowledge and dumb luck is what kept us alive – like Wile E. Coyote blithely walking off a cliff and not falling until he looks down. Some other time I’ll tell you about the time we set Tom on fire and then tried to convince the nurse who lived in the neighborhood that his injuries were a rug burn.

What I was reminded of though, as we sat around telling stories after Granma’s service was the time my brother and I collected a bunch of cocoons from the field below the hill. Snapping off milkweed stems that the golf ball sized orbs were attached to. Hundreds of ‘em, we loaded our arms like we were gathering kindling and brought them all into our bedroom envisioning the day when we would wake up thousands of butterflies flittering around like some scene from Disney’s song of the south Zip a dee do dah day.

It was a couple days later that my mom showed up at St. Gabriel grade school to give us a ride home – this had never happened before we always took the bus so we were definitely entering a different dimension. It seems our cocoons had hatched – but instead of a glorious display of winged wonderfulness fluttering we had a room infested by what looked like the type of mold that grows on an old orange peel.

Except – this stuff was moving.

Seems the cocoons we had collected were of the praying mantis variety so literally millions of the little (each about the size of a grain of rice) buggers had emerged simultaneously while we were at school. I don’t remember how we got them all out of there, most likely with a shop vac but I do remember their teeny tiny little beady eyes.

1 comment:

smith said...

enjoyed the story muchly. would love to see a roomful of moving green mold critters.