We are in the midst of what feels like a life-and-death struggle to survive an alien invasion. Today marks the ninth day of the siege. It feels longer.
Anyone who has ever been seriously ill, or recuperating from major surgery, knows the feeling. The early worst agony passes. You’re too sick to do anything much, but well enough to be fed up with being sick. Bored by pain, weary of being off your feet. The sound of your own complaining is aggravating. You feel like “this movie needs a good editing!” except it’s real life and doesn’t work that way.
The day is beautiful, the sky brilliant blue. It’s gorgeous as a backdrop for the bare limbs of tall oaks. I’ve gotten (almost) used to the look of naked trees in June. The catalpa and sassafras have leaves because they are least favorite trees for the caterpillars. The forsythia are safe for the same reason, at least for now. The hairy caterpillars have not yet eaten all the maples. No doubt they’ll get to them. Soon.
Life’s a struggle. We struggle to be born. We struggle to grow up, to make a life, a difference. To find meaning. Struggling to survive an alien caterpillar invasion was never on my list of likely scenarios. Call me crazy, but of all the things I imagined might one day happen to me, this never even made the bottom of the list. Insect invasions were the stuff of John Steinbeck novels and Egyptian plagues.
People have commented that they could never cope with this. That’s pretty much what I would have said had this been happening to someone else and me merely reading about it.
So I’m here to tell you that when you have no choice, you cope. You manage. What else can you do? Lay on the floor and try to die? Go live somewhere else? Where? Maybe if you’re young enough with still living parents, you can go back to mom for a while … but at our age, we are where the kids come when all else fails.
Whatever struggle is involved, we deal with it to the best of our ability. That’s life for you. As I gaze out my picture window I see the swaying naked oak trees, the remaining leafy branches of catalpa and sassafras trees. I see a robin chowing down on caterpillars. It’s a banquet year for local birds who eat the caterpillars. I expect to see fat robins and juncos. It’s their movable (moving) feast.
I also see caterpillars creeping up the glass and along the sills. If I look up, the eaves are covered with them. As is the foundation of the house and the driveway, the deck, and lawn furniture.
The sprayers are coming, the sprayers are coming. Today! Not sure exactly when. Might not be until late, but days are long this time of year.
One of these weeks, these millions of caterpillars will become millions of moths. Who will lay mega-millions of eggs. Something to which we can all look forward, eh?