I was in Rockport recently, a picturesque North Shore coastal fishing town. It’s got a small artsy village where tourists roam the narrow street that leads to Bearskin Neck and a view of the ocean.
Bruce and I stopped to watch a cat hunting a grasshopper in a raised flowerbed, that bordered the roadway. The cat was quick. She darted and leaped, following the erratic hopping of the insect.
When the cat looked right, the grasshopper leaped left, perching triumphantly on a zinnia. I thought briefly of scooping it into my hand and moving it farther away from the cat, who was still searching.
Then the grasshopper hopped onto my foot, but before I could walk away--taking it with me out of harm’s way--it made a dynamic leap into the street ... where an oblivious tourist immediately stepped on it.
The crunch--like biting into a potato chip—stayed in my ears. The unexpected unfairness of it still lingers.
The man continued walking; the cat went on hunting. And I was left to think that surely there was a moral to the story. Or at least a lesson.
But all my lessons seem too grim. This was only a tiny slice of a grasshopper's life, and why should I expand it to mean more than just unfortunate timing? A little good luck followed by bad.
Timing is everything.
The timing of death, like the ending of a story, gives a changed meaning to what preceded it. ~Mary Catherine Bateson