Tuesday, May 22, 2012

After the Worms Stop Dangling

The air around our home is filled with aerialists, these days. They fly through the air with the greatest of ease. They shimmy up and down slender threads of silk. They swing in the breeze. They also plop into our drinks, end up in our dinner salads and ride our hair and shoulders into the house.

They are tiny green caterpillars that descend from our oak trees every spring, along with a shower of golden pollen that coats everything and tiny black balls that become gritty underfoot. These latter two are part of the reproductive cycle of the oak. With every gust of wind, clouds of golden pollen fill the air, wafting off to pollinate surrounding oaks. I assume, but don’t know for sure, that the little black balls are immature acorns that have failed to germinate and thus are cast from the tree.

The little green caterpillars are a mystery. I have no idea what kind of moth or butterfly they become. They bring mobs of songbirds to our trees to gorge on their succulent little bodies, like a kind of bird hotdog. But mostly they seem to just hang around. Quite literally. David and I keep an eye out for their sudden appearance during dinner on the deck, since we are not as fond of ingesting them as are the birds. We call them simply the worms, knowing full well that they are not worms, at all.

On my birthday in March, David bought me a chaise longue, an outdoor comfort that I have long coveted. However, due to a combination of factors that include cool weather and the hours spent on the Fiesta of Smoke manuscript, I’ve yet to unfurl this delight and accomplish any actual lounging. Just yesterday, however, I began to have fantasies of doing exactly that and of positioning myself in an oak grove just south of the house. There is a combination of live and black oaks there, in a marvelous canopy of coolth, shifting greens and dappled shade. My fantasy included long dreaming hours staring up at that rustling green ceiling, deeply involved in absolutely nothing.

However, as David pointed out, it’s still a little early for that. A volley of gold and black sexual parts would bombard me. And then there would be The Invasion of the Worms, swinging down from above like little green ninjas. To which I replied, in what may become our new metaphor for delayed gratification of something profoundly to be wished for but often despaired of (the way the Jews say "Next Year in Jerusalem," at the conclusion of the Yom Kippur service and the Passover Seder), “I’ll just have to wait until after the worms stop dangling.”

1 comment:

BookBagLady said...

I am so seriously serious that I don't live there. "Worms" plopping on your head, shoulder, food. Yak! I would literally die for sure, Suzan. Just gives me the willies even thinking about it. I feel so bad for you, doesn' it bother you???

Love ya,