Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Grasshopper and the Ants

New Nesting Moon

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IN a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

“Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”

“I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”

“Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; “we have got plenty of food at present.” But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food, and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer.

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Douglas Squirrel by Powerkey
Can you feel it? The change is in the air. The light is a bit thinner, a bit more golden and the sun is lower in the sky, shining right in my eyes for more of the afternoon. There are more leaves on the trails I walk every day. Mostly Indian plum and Big Leaf Maple, the early changers, but more leaves on the street trees are turning red and gold. Every stump and log in the park I work in is covered with the ripped apart Douglas fir cones left behind by the Chickaree squirrels. The coastal forest we hiked in today is chalk full of ripe red huckleberries and salal and a few acorns can be found on the ground in other forests. Mornings are cooler, despite warm afternoons, but the real signs of autumn include the winter flock of bushtits and the first wooly bear caterpillar sighting. 

With the first signs of autumn come the first inklings that my season of frolicking and play might need to come to an end. My summer job ends in a very short number of weeks and I have nothing lined up for the fall. As I analyze my complete and utter lack of taking responsibility for my career path since graduation, I am coming up against some big fears I will need to work on this dark season. It isn't the introspective season yet, but I see it coming.

via Dierken
In another version of the classic Aesop's fable, the grasshopper "perishing with famine, passed by and earnestly begged for a little food." When they learn that he did not store treasure in the summer, they deride him by saying "If you were foolish enough to sing all the summer, you must dance supperless to bed in the winter." I hope that the winter, and the ants I may run into, will be a bit more forgiving of my summer of singing than the ants in this tale. But I guess we'll have to burn that bridge when we get to it.

Have you been an ant or a grasshopper this summer? What signs of autumn are you seeing around you? What work do you see in front of you for the winter? What is your favorite part of summer that you will miss most?

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New Nesting Moon 2011: Golden Autumn and The Book of Nature

New Nesting Moon 2010: Ramadan 

New Nesting Moon 2009:  Breathe a Sigh of Relief  

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