A Walk With Bugs

I slept in on this warm August morning, so when I went for my walk, my muse failed to join me. She must be an early riser.

I did have company on my walk, however. In the shade of the deeper woods, a lone mosquito mentioned something in my left ear. Something about her breakfast, I suspect. I waved her away, preferring she dine without me.

As soon as the trail emerged from the woods and into the open field, a few persistent deer flies buzzed my head. Now that warm, dry days have returned, I’ll remember to wear a hat on my walks. As soon as the trail dipped back into the woods, the deer flies returned to their sunny places to await another potential meal. Late morning is still too cool in the shade for these heat-loving insects.

Under the shade of the mature forest, the buzz of a cicada announced his availability to all female cicadas within cicada-earshot. As August wears on, more cicadas will compete for the chance to mate and assure future Augusts will resound with cicada calls in the high tree-tops. Like my muse, this cicada is an early starter. I hope he finds a like-minded female.

Across the field from the cicada-wood, just two feet from the path, a grasshopper gives a few short chirps from the shady base of some grasses. I pause to be sure it is not a cricket. The chirping call is similar in pitch to the cicada, but broken into little uneven pieces, and without the upward trill and length of the cricket call. He, too, is advertising for a mate. “Look here!” he says, “Tall grass in the warm sun! A perfect starter home for grasshoppers!” I’m not sure how the grasshopper housing market is, but this fellow is continuing to advertise as I walk away down the trail.

As I finish my loop around the old field and enter the woods near my house, no insect friends stop by to say good bye. I am not offended. They are all busy with survival and reproduction on a warm August morning, and I was just looking for my muse.

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