I was getting on the highway this afternoon when something directly to my left caught my eye. Since there were no other cars in sight, I took the liberty of turning my head to see what it was. “It” was a wheat-colored grasshopper clinging to the outside of the window as I traveled at 60-plus miles per hour.
Startled, I snuck a few more quick looks trying to figure out how the grasshopper was actually holding on against such a massive physical force. I saw at least two of its large eyes and noticed its mouth, which looked like a pleasant smile. Dread suddenly filled me as I realized the little grasshopper’s fate would surely be to die as it was pulled off the window at any moment.
I accelerated the car more slowly than usual, checking on the grasshopper every few seconds. How in the world was it able to hang on? Shouldn’t it have at least given up by now? It became clear that it had shifted positions, either by force or intentionally, and its legs were now braced in such a way that I was beginning to think maybe it had a chance.
At one point I wondered if it was still alive as it looked pretty stressed against the rushing air. But I realized it couldn’t hold on if it was dead – bugs are gross but there are limits to their grossness! I became resolute to save any creature that was that incredibly tenacious.
I kept my speed down (quite a feat for a speed demon like myself) and decided I would pull off near a grassy area as soon as I exited the highway. I tried in vain to visualize a “grassy area” near my destination, a Super Walmart. When my exit came up I saw my chance – a pull-off area on the right of the exit ramp and unbelievably, a nice-sized grassy area.
Apprehensive that it would all go wrong and I’d end up killing the insect that I had started to admire, I decided to use a spare sock I found in the car to gently pick it up and perhaps set it on the grass. (I’m not one to pick up bugs, even super bugs.) I carefully laid the sock on top of it but when I lifted the sock the grasshopper sprung high up in the air into flight, over the car and right into the grassy area.
I smiled – how often does something actually turn out exactly the way you wanted? And, I’d forgotten that grasshoppers can fly.
As I braved the late Friday afternoon crowds at Walmart, I started to wonder when I have been so tenacious that I had to use every ounce of strength to hang on. I will have to ponder that one for while.