The cricket woke me.
As it scurried by, I noticed it was wearing a cloth (as if it were a tail!)
I had no sense of what time it was, but I noticed it was (after all!) about daybreak.
(This was later told to me) that many bats are nocturnal, or else they are so easily startled, they flee to cover their heads and hide.
In their defense, I suppose it may well have been mid-afternoon, for there was a palpable somberness in the air.
But, I felt there was no time to lose. I was to find EROS and leave on my mission.
With some haste, I left the dark streets, and headed south. I walked along a dirt path, although I did not really know where it went or to go.
The area was shrouded in darkness (though there was just enough moonlight to see)
and as I walked through a hedge of willows I felt disoriented and was careful to go very, very slowly (if not all in terror, I would surely turn to cactus!)
When I reached a “Road” I noticed it had a layer of pebbles on it, and walked past it, just in case there were some venomous snakes on that road. (At that point it would have been more like trying to get out of a sheet of plywood than to a mat of tinfoil!)
As I walked, it became more and more foggy, and though I could see quite a distance ahead of me, in all other directions it was pitch dark.
When I reached the far side of the light of day, I happened to look ahead of me.
In that brief moment, something fell down in front of me!
I saw it laying there, spread-eagled, but before I could move, it rolled right up onto its feet and began running towards me!
It had been a mosquito — and it had died — just because of me!
I was trapped in a painful searing haze of irritation.
I reached for a pocket knife from my pocket, and slowly began inching backwards.
I must not get trapped by the mosquito (i)n that maze!
I was already avoiding all sorts of vermin (e.g. earthworms, centipedes, snakes, scorpions etc) that night; why did it have to choose me!
So, I crawled backwards, very slowly, back to my camp spot.
I stood up, and in my irritation I drew a cross on my heart.
The mosquito landed on a rock, and I quickly looked around. There was no one around.
Then the mosquito’s wings swept over my head, and it disappeared down into the gloom.
I turned around, and began to head back.
But, as I walked, a dim, red light began to grow larger.
The light grew steadily, until it became a helicopter.
As it hovered in the sky, my exhaustion from the previous night began to grow.
The mosquito had chased me all the way to my spot, and was now guarding it!
And so I did what I had to do: I ran away, in a panic, back to my camp, where I found myself comfor(ing) again with the cricket.
I may have forgotten the sun was up that morning, for I was greatly exhausted.
But it was about that time I began to feel hungry, so I sat down at my cooking fire, and, while I ate, I watched the giant stone (that I had almost stepped on), turn slowly.
Eventually, it disappeared.
I then called out in triumph (albeit slightly in jest)
“It’s gone! I can go home now!
I can go back to sleep for the rest of the day!”
And the cricket replied:
“I’m so glad you could finally see that stone. I’m just happy to be here with you. Be sure you come back again and visit me some time!
(If you should find a bug in your hair, don’t scratch it, it will die! Just take me to its hiding place!).”
It may be hard to believe, but each and every cricket inhabits a different cave; though some are inside of rocks.
Some live in the stream that flows nearby,
and some live inside rocks.
But they all love to hang out together — all the insects in this area!
It’s a great group of friends, we spend all day in the cool of the cave,
and the nights are filled with nature’s best.
(These days the cricket — who I now know to be Augustus Insecta, was the only creature to come to my aid, and stand guard over my hut that night — and many nights thereafter.)
And, while I was happy to leave that place, I still took many souvenirs of it with me.
I used bits of it as walls and ceilings, and anything else I could take, and when I built my home at the foot of that giant stone, I built my roof out of it!
And, to this day, whenever I go up to the “Cockroach Tunnel,”
I still look back, and remember Augustus Insecta, who, I suppose, was the real hero of that place.
I know, I know, there’s a lot more to talk about, but I’ve only scratched the surface.
Those are just some quick observations about that particular cave.
There’s plenty more I could tell you, if you care to know.
But you have to start at the very beginning — where it all began —
and you have to come with me now! I’m happy to say I made it all the way!
That’s right — I can’t believe I’ve made it this far, but here I am.
It was a beautiful morning, and I was ready to escape the heat and sun and I figured I’d just walk around, open the gate, and take a look around.
I’d noticed some new flowers in the past days and wanted to see if there was anything interesting around the creek.
I headed up to the rutabagas, and there was something very strange about one that had suddenly bloomed, while I was gone.
I was flabbergasted by it!
Then, I heard a strange sound.
It was coming from the pines!
I was so shocked, I forgot what I was looking for — and, it was too late to go back, so I went to see what I had found.
I found it quickly, and it was indeed a bee.
But I could tell it was not a normal one.
It was not fat, and there was no veil in its wings — I was amazed by its size!
It was no bigger than the tip of my finger, but it seemed much, much taller.
And, it looked almost as if it might fly away, but it sat on a leaf near the creek’s edge.
It sat there patiently, and then, it began to walk down the side of the hill,
as if it was walking to meet me.
“Hi! Hi! I’m the Bee,” he said!
“I know you, I know you!” he said.
“I’ll tell you what I am — I am the longest living creature
who will ever exist. We share this earth with the other
creatures, but, only in relative terms, we have a lot more in common,
and they’re quite nice and useful.