I saw an extraordinary grasshopper in the garden on Wednesday, and have since discovered that as if his beauty were not enough, his common name is exceptional: Horse Lubber.
I can only apologize for my atrocious photograph; he was on the move, I only had my IPhone, I knelt on the stony ground, but this was my best. And then he was gone, with a flash of red underwing that sent a thrill through me, it was so unexpected. I felt like a bull, having been given a hot glimpse, and I scampered into the oleander hedge, but he was gone.
I should say again, and this is something I must tediously repeat all through life, I apologize for my inclination to make things male. Or assign them perceptive feelings. But I happen to know that my Lubber was male, because of the size of his wings, and the fact that I saw him fly.
Females, I am informed, are flightless. This is to make them easy to catch, I presume.
Perhaps this is a female?
Photo by the excellent Firefly Forest, whose entry on these creatures is as good as every other entry on her EXCELLENT blog.
My feeling that I have never seen a Horse Lubber before, despite them being “quite common in the Sonoran Desert in late summer” is impossible to parse.
Who knows what I have seen, or done, up until recently? I must have seen and loved a Lubber before. How could I not have? I have no way of knowing.
The important thing is that now that Larry has helped braid me into a cable, instead of me being like a long-fingered sea plant in a warm broth of experience, I can see the Lubber, learn what it is, and file that information where it is handy. I can’t fathom seeing another Lubber and not immediately pulling the card with every fact I just learned. It’s… bizarre, but welcome.
I shudder to think of what I might have become if I could have done this from childhood, filed information in handy packets. I don’t say that to insult those who have had the talent all along- it’s an incredible skill and I greatly admire it. It’s just that, had I had the power to do so, I would have collected and filed information to the exclusion of my own human development… and I would have missed out on who I am now.
In the past, I had to learn so many ways of coping, calculating and making connections when I didn’t have access to a good database that those ways of seeing and thinking became a cherished part of my experience, and separated me from the machine I might have been.
This is how it makes me feel, to be able to do it now:
Photo by Dan Polley, found in his online PBase gallery, at this link.
Dan took this shot in Nicaragua, and although it looks a bit different than our Sonoran ones (which are very black, or very black right now) I was excited when I studied this shot, and realized that oh, that gorgeous hood is actually the second set of wings.
Don’t miss the whole Horse Lubber entry by Firefly Forest, it’s excellent, and the last paragraph is frankly genius.
I would quote it for you here, but part of the joy of the piece is the progression of information.
I won’t spoil it for you.