Tuesday, September 9, 2008
I went out on the back porch yesterday afternoon to fill a hummingbird feeder, and I noticed a dead grasshopper floating in one of the dogs' water bowls. I let it float. The two big dogs, Nio and Kobi, inhabit the back yard, and the 5 gallon tubs of water I put out for them tend to collect a lot of debris: shed fur, bird poop, stray spiders, pollen, etc. Plus, Kobi is very fond of bathing her feet after she's been digging. If I was hung up about them getting pristine water, I'd be throwing out a bathtub's worth every day, so I restrict them to a fresh supply each morning unless things get truly nasty.
I went back out several hours later, and of course the grasshopper was still floating. It was a pretty little bug. I wanted to get a closer look at it, so I grabbed one of the dogs' nylon chew toys and fished it out--and damn if it didn't start moving. I laid the toy on a ledge and watched the little guy bring himself back to life.
He gave a small shake of each limb, then commenced rubbing his face and the base of his antennae with his front legs. He was very thorough. He'd pause for a second and then start rubbing again, as if he realized his styling job was not quite done. When he was groomed to his satisfaction, he flexed his torso a little, and then extended each hind leg, pointing it like a dancer warming up. At that point he seemed to realize he was precariously situated on the end of the fake bone, so he slowly moved himself off it onto the ledge.
The late afternoon sun was shining directly on him. The black and yellow stripes on his legs were beautiful. I leaned down to admire him, and just as I did he shook his wings and flung water in my face--Go away, kid, you bother me. So much for gratitude.
He settled himself along the outer corner of the ledge, clearly enjoying the warmth of the sun. If a bug can be happy, he was. I went back out to check on him an hour later and he had flown away.
Photo by Gothika from Wikimedia Commons,