The most peculiar thing happened to me the other day. I was doing what I usually do on a Friday morning–driving in my trusty ’94 Honda to the arboretum to practice yoga with some friends. Usually I’m in a rush–wake up, gulp some coffee, grab my mat and go. But this Friday as I rounded the curves of the road surrounding the arboretum, I slowed down.
It’s daylight savings time–when darkness comes quickly and lasts. But Friday morning was so filled with light, it couldn’t help but command my attention. It turned gold and glittered down through the leaves and onto the road, mingling with shadows. My windows were rolled down and the breeze that finally feels like autumn, mussed my hair, cooled my rosy cheeks and made me smile. Fall makes me wake up. It makes me feel the most alive. It’s full of magic.
Perhaps that sounds naive, silly, and twee–but I don’t care. There is a palpable energy that I feel every autumn. It’s my season.
Sitting at a stop sign, I was mesmerized by the golden morning hour. It was early and the roads were mostly empty, so I lingered a few more moments. I let my foot off the break slowly and rolled forward in no rush, continuing down the road. Just as I began to round a corner, a bright green grasshopper jumped on my windshield. With a “tap” sound, it landed right in front of my face. I couldn’t help but smile.
In all of my time living here, I haven’t really seen many grasshoppers–especially a big one like this. It reminded me of my childhood. As the evening sunlight ribboned through the rows, I used to run through the cornfield as fast as I could. Grasshoppers exploded from the ground as I zoomed past–their bodies flinging past my arms announcing my presence. On Friday, as I looked at this grasshopper in front of my face, I couldn’t help but acknowledge and welcome everything it brought.
Maybe this chance moment is insignificant. But maybe it’s not. The rest of the day, I felt invigorated, and I welcomed a new, if brief, “everything is going to work out,” mindset. Like any other person in this world, I’m trying to navigate my life through hurdles, hoops, choppy seas, treacherous mountains, bumpy roads and any other overused cliché you could think of. It’s easy to get swept away by fear and swallowed whole by “what ifs.”
And then a grasshopper jumped in front of my face to tell me to, “knock it off.”
Giddy with my magical encounter, I told a dear friend about it. She immediately chimed and said, “that’s good luck.” “Really?” I said, “It feels lucky.” I went onward with my day and my weekend believing that maybe some luck would soon shine down upon me.
Instead of waiting around for the luck to find me, I’m practicing staying open minded, positive and patient. Anyone who knows me would say I already appear to be good at all of those things–but the truth is, I’m not. Sometimes friends will say, “I wish I were as calm as you are. Nothing seems to bother you.” Dear friends, thank you for noticing–but this calmness isn’t something that I was born with to exude–I’ve been working hard on it for a long time. So, needless to say, staying open minded, positive and patient isn’t easy. But I’m working on it.
This morning, cuddled in a blanket, fighting a cold, I decided to read about grasshoppers. Like many totems, it has various meanings and symbolism. I read that grasshoppers often leap into your life to announce that new experiences are coming. They represent the balance between being grounded and free spirited. I also read that they symbolize pause, fertility, luck, creative manifestations, and prosperity among others. The power of pausing and making space for new experiences resonated with me the most. As I was driving, I was much more attentive and mindful than I usually am, and plop! the grasshopper arrived.
I believe I’ve written about it before–but this year is a weird year for me. As I support and wait for my husband to complete his degree, I’m just kind of stuck. I ruminate about the future a lot, and I’m trying to practice those things I mentioned before: be open minded, positive and patient. Finding employment is hard, living in the south is strange, and I’m a little unsure of the next steps. I’m a planner, and there isn’t a solid blueprint for what’s to come–this induces so much anxiety. Like the grasshopper, I want to leap and fly out of here to whatever is next. And Codey does too. I guess we will continue to be patient and know that things will work out in their own time. That grasshopper had a message for me; I’m so glad I was listening.
In thinking about grasshoppers, here’s a favorite poet of mine musing about one herself:
The Summer Day – Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?