Friday, May 31, 2013
You humans call it an invasion, a scourge, a plague even. You think I've come to eat your flowers, destroy your vegetable garden, or defoliate your forests. Most of you have no idea what life has been like for me and my kind. So let me take a moment and tell you a little about myself.
I never knew my parents. They were both long dead before I hatched. On the day I was born, I fell out of a tree. To protect my soft young body, I had to seek cover in the soil. My first instinct was to dig. I was lucky. I dug for my life. Many of my generation never got the chance. They fell on paved surfaces, some were devoured by birds or ants, and some were attacked by spiders before they ever left their birth tree.
Our mothers knew the dangers we would face, so they laid many eggs. They plowed them into the tender end branches of trees and shrubs. Their ovipositors sometimes weakened the little twigs, and a passing wind broke them from the tree. Some folks thought my mother was eating their tree , but really she was giving them a healthy pruning. Actually, she never ate anything.
I was one of the lucky ones to fall near soft soil. Yeah, lucky me. My first glimpse of sunshine on the day I was born would be the last light I would see for a long time; a real long time. I had to sacrifice light for survival. So I dug and dug, but never for a moment was I completely safe. Many of my siblings were stalked and devoured by voles, others were dug up or crushed by new construction. As I grew stronger, I learned to escape these hazards.
I never had a parent to feed and protect me like my archenemy birds, or you spoiled mammals. I was totally on my own from the day I was born. I found the nourishment I needed in tidbits of dirt in my dark world. Slowly, I grew larger and stronger, and developed claws to protect myself and to catch food. My luck continued for about 17 years, I had survived!
Then something happened to me that I cannot explain. All my life I had used the darkness of the underground as my protection. It was weird. My black safe haven began to feel like a dungeon. I had to escape. I had to go to the place that I feared the most. Imagine my terror as I dug upward to a totally alien world. It was against my will, but I could not stop myself. I dug and climbed up toward the light. I had no memory of light, or the world above ground, but still I climbed. Deep within myself, I found the courage to come to the surface and emerge into a strange world with many of my kind.
I looked at all the others. We were certainly an ugly bunch, all legs and claws. Of course, strong legs, I mean, come on, we had spent our whole lives digging. But something felt different. I had no further desire to dig. I wanted to climb, up a tree, up a bush, up a fence post, up a house, it didn't matter, I just knew I had to get above the ground. So I climbed until I was exhausted. I had to rest. My legs were so tired I could not move them. In fact, my legs were locked into place on the bark of my tree. And my back started to itch, and the light no longer hurt my eyes.
Overnight, my joints felt so achy that I had to stretch. And that's when it happened! I heard a crunching sound as my exoskeleton cracked open and as I stretched more, I stepped out of my old dried skin and walked away with a new sleek, wet body. It was so weird. I felt like I was carrying something new on my back. I wasn't sure what they were and I was a little frightened, so I tried to shake them off. I shook so hard that I lost my grip on the tree. It was de javu. I dreaded falling to earth again, but I didn't. I fell up! It was so cool! I never had to fall again. I could fly. Then I did something else I had never done before. With the joy of flying, all I wanted to do was sing. So I sang with total joy. As I flew and sang, I began to hear others singing, so I flew towards their song.
Then I saw them. The ugly mob that came out of the dirt yesterday now was a lacy winged squadron of red eyed beauties. and they could sing. Nobody ever sang down there in the dirt. This was special, I mean really special. Seventeen years in the dungeon of the dirt, then all within one day, I am set free from the darkness, I get a whole new body, I learn to fly and I learn to sing. It can't get any better than this. But it does. I follow one special song and I find a mate and I fall in love. I propagate a family. I am fulfilled.
So think about it you unappreciative mammals: if you had the chance, in one fantastic day to get a brand new body, to learn to fly and sing and to have sex, would you turn it down? I didn't think so.