It was one of those days when I was filled with self doubt and a lot of questions. Would life ever change? Will we ever be free to move about the world again? I was feeling stuck, bored, and unmotivated. It felt like my life was not only at a standstill, but that maybe I was even going backward in my life.
I prayed to God and Spirit, and felt I received nothing but silence as my answer. I huffed my way into the day, and harrumphed my way to the grocery store. Some people love to shop for shoes. I love shopping for groceries. The one thing that I could do to create change in my life was to try different recipes. This time it was going to be Lemon Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce.
I was in the meat department at the supermarket, waiting for the butcher to wrap my salmon fillet, and I decided to rearrange things in my cart while I waited. I reached into my cart, and yelped! I found myself eye to eye with a four inch long, very regal and robust looking grasshopper who was holding onto the edge of my cart.
I laughed and looked around to see if anyone heard me yelp. I almost pointed out the grasshopper to the butcher, but decided against it, as some people freak out when they see bugs, and kill them. The grasshopper stared at me hard, and if a grasshopper could look confused, this one did. How in the heck did he get into the store in the first place? I wondered if he had been riding along with me for the past 10 minutes, perhaps jumping from the bin of peaches into my cart. Had he traveled here from some far distant farmland? That sounded much more romantic than, “He jumped in through the sliding doors,” or “He was holding onto your cart for dear life as you entered the store.”
“It’s alright, buddy,” I said to him gently, “You just hold on tight, and I’ll get you outside soon. I have a few more things on my list.” (Yes, I said this aloud, not caring who heard me.) I couldn’t just roll him outside with a cart full of unpaid groceries. And, I didn’t want to risk trying to scoop him into my hands and have him jump away. So, I opted for taking my little passenger for a ride through the grocery store, all the while chatting with him.
“I just need one more thing, little buddy, and then we’ll check out.” The whole time he held on tightly, and never moved, but watched me steadily as we traveled all the way to the other side of the store, and then went all the way back to the self check-out.
I reached into my cart past the grasshopper, sometimes within an inch or two, to grab and scan my groceries. He didn’t budge. As we left the store, I told him that I’d get him to a tree. As soon as I said this, the grasshopper immediately turned around and faced away from me, surveying the landscape, preparing himself to disembark. I was afraid he might jump into the parking lot, and then I’d have another dilemma. But, it turned out he was smarter than that. I moved my cart up to a lush little parking lot island that had a large tree and several bushes. That was the target, and my little buddy made the leap of his life, traveling well over four feet to the trunk of the tree, where he landed gracefully, and held on tight. He turned his head to look at me, and I know he was showing gratitude, giving me a grasshopper’s thumbs up.
I felt this odd sense of sadness as I opened my trunk and unloaded my groceries. I was going to miss my little buddy.
I knew that this encounter must have deeper meaning than just me and a grasshopper rolling through a supermarket together. I looked up the meaning in Animal Speak by Ted Andrews when I got home, and on page 343, I read the following; an answer to my prayers that morning:
“Remember, a grasshopper always leaps up or forward. It doesn’t leap backward.”