Friday, July 24, 2009


This morning I woke up early. I think the anticipation of being on vacation starting after work today had me a little antsy. I just wanted to get through the workday and get in the car and hit the road.

Because of that anticipation, I am a little more relaxed than normal, and the weather in the mornings has just been delightful for the entire week. With the cool breeze blowing and the air dry, the temperature topping out from the overnight 60 degrees, the patio called me at about 6:00, and with coffee mug in hand, that is where I went.

But relaxation was not to be for long. Hanging on a chair leg was a cicada, half in and half out of his shell, trying to be birthed, trying to be free, trying to find his wings.

For a while I watched as he struggled and then to my dismay and I am sure to the insect's dismay, he fell from the chair, the shell still attached securely to his damp forelegs, and he landed in the dying cockroach position, on his back on the bricks.

With every ounce of my strength I vowed not to help him. I would not help this ugly insect correct his precarious situation. And so he struggled while I sat on the patio beside him.

Cicadas have huge eyes. And with his, he looked at me as he kicked and tried to free himself from his shell. Once that happened, though, he was still destined to die on my patio, on his back, once the sun came out full-force for the day. With wings wet, they stuck firmly, and the little guy was not accepting his fate easily. He stared at me, he pleaded with those big bulging eyes, until finally, ever so gently, I lifted the shell off of him and he sighed a sigh of relief, fluttered a little, tried to free his wings, tried to navigate onto his side so his legs would allow a bit of leverage so he could get upright and dry off and soar.

This bug weighs a lot when referenced against other bugs in my queendom. The laws of physics were against him ever righting himself, so I just gave him a tiny nudge. The tiniest of nudges was all it took to put him on his feet, and then, as luck would have it, one wing, gooey and wet, was flopped forward and stuck to one of his big eyes. He wandered toward another chair leg, feeling ahead with his feet, pleading with me with his one exposed eye to please go one step further.

"I'm not asking much," he said in his silent cicada voice that I will admit probably only I could hear. "Just one more thing, please?"

So carefully I took his beautiful blue-green wing and peeled it back, placed it into position just so over his back, and he smiled. I thought, "Might as well go the extra mile," and I held a stick in front of him which he gratefully climbed onto, and then I took him to the big ash tree in my back yard.

When C., as I like to call him now, reached out and grabbed onto the bark of that tree and began climbing up toward the top, it was a triumphant moment. Once he was safely high he looked back and whispered his thank yous and disappeared into the crook.

We both learned something today: No creature is too small to give a helping hand to, and not all humans are the enemy.

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