Posted by: Banta | May 15, 2019

Grasshoppers Are People Too

No regrets about how long it’s been since the last blog post. I’ve been incubating, gestating, evolving. All the things. That said, there is something I need to get off my chest. I have a confession to make about my past relationship with grasshoppers.

I don’t mean the small fragile ones, the little green leapers that jump when you brush by a leaf. No, I’m talking about the giant yellow and black ones, big as a child’s foot and virtually indestructible. Trust me, I tried for years.

The Eastern Lubber grasshoppers emerged like a plague every spring, their small black young blanketing large swaths of my Florida garden. Left to mature to adulthood, they ate everything in sight: irises and amaryllis, peas, lettuce, kale, beans, cabbage, including in their diet more than 100 species of vegetables and flowers. Toxic to birds, and having no other predators, the lubbers multiplied like crazy and could decimate an entire season’s harvest overnight.

close up photo of grasshopper

Back in those days I waged war on them – a decade long effort to wipe them out. It was nothing short of grasshopper genocide. What the actual f*ck?  I saw them as trespassers, when I was the one who had invaded their territory. I feared their size, got angry at their resistance. Surely they were lesser creatures and I was entitled to dominion over them. Surely they deserved to die. I tried everything in the colonizer playbook. I dropped them into soapy water, crushed them underfoot, threw them off the dock and hoped they’d drown. They never did.

Instead, they returned, year after year, until I could learn what they had to teach me.

Today I bow in apology to the Grasshopper people. I own my colonizer behavior, my arrogant disregard for the generations of Eastern Lubbers I tried to eliminate. I honor their lives, their spirits, their personhood, their ancestors. May we coexist in peace, and may I continue to acknowledge and repair the wounds of the past in which I (and my own ancestors) participated.

 


Responses

  1. Great to see you back, Banta!! Love your perspective in all things, especially involving the natural world. I wonder why it takes us so long to learn to appreciate everything wonderful about nature and every living creature in it. Of course, it helps that I no longer have a yard to deal with and get to reap the rewards of the work of others! Love you!

  2. Very powerful, Banta. We forget we are guests here
    We have a family of deer, who choose to have dinner
    In our backyard, eating everything green. I suggest
    they go away, in various tones, they look me right in the eye,
    And keep eating. Nature is a powerful force, and we humans
    Are not as important as we sometimes believe.

  3. Yes! Love the humility and the honesty!

  4. You are a kind soul, H is a glowing reflection of you 🙂

    I didn’t know you have a place in FL! Do you come often? Maybe we could get together if it is close to where I am. You can email me if you are interested in discussing further 🙂


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