I’m up and away from my desk, waiting as my husband installs a bookcase that he’s renewed with care for my use. Wandering onto the front deck. I breathe deeply of the winter air, not-too-chilly in California. I glance at the spent tomato plants, their cages empty cells, as if the prisoners have been sprung.
I see the green grasshopper. I’m startled, as he rests just a few feet from me, clinging to the tomato cage, and I took no notice.
I turn my eyes to the garden. I ask them to become noticing eyes.
Right away I see him, sitting on the silvery finger-long leaf of the Echium candicans.
He is the patriarch of all grasshoppers, with his walrus face. I imagine that if he begins to scrape those legs, one against the other, his song will fill the canyon. It’s worth interrupting my husband. it’s worth getting the camera. He rests still, regal, unperturbed by my going, my calling out, my returning, my flashy camera.
Then I notice a twig stuck in the silvery fingerlong foliage, a souvenir of recent wind.
I remove it and find the spent pods of seeds, left behind as their charges burst forth, or maybe drifted, down to earth that only seems indifferent.
I wonder what will grow from these seeds, and where.
A speck of color caught my eye as I unwove the twig from silvery fingerlong foliage. I return to investigate.
Returning with my noticing eyes I see a ladybug, tucked deeply into the shrub’s rosette. I see, too, the fresh green tips sprouting on the Echium. Soon she’ll unfurl her purple flowers again, renew her promise that winter will end.
The patriarch remains. He’s moved to another place amid the silvery fingerlong foliage.
18 On that day the deaf will hear words of a book,
And out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.
19 The afflicted also will increase their gladness in the LORD,
And the needy of mankind will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 29:18-19 (NASB)