Thursday, October 23, 2014

Grasshopper Haiku

The way grasshoppers and crickets make that sound -- the clicking, chirping, sing-song sound -- is that they rub their wings together.  On the underside of each wing there are some ridges and the friction between the ridges rubbing together is what makes the sound.  That's how the guy at the insect and bird market explained it to me.  And I can see the transparent wings vibrating, so he must be right.  That's why, if you want a grasshopper with a high-pitched sound, which is more highly valued among collectors, then you want to get one with broad wings.  That's how I picked the one I've got. The one that bites.  Not that I still think about that, the blood pouring forth from the gaping wound... No, I'm over it. 

They are looking for a mate when they sing like that.  So the next time you are out in the great outdoors enjoying the many insect sounds out by the lake -- or wherever you go to enjoy insect sounds -- well, those insects are horny. 

But, anyway, I was watching my grasshopper this morning and thinking about what sweet sounds come from his over-sexed frictive rubbing and I got to feeling all poetic about it.

The Grasshopper Haiku

only by friction
can the sweet music come forth
sing grasshopper sing

Basil of Cesaerea would probably approve.  I like to think so anyway.  I like Basil.

You probably know him as one of the Cappadocian Fathers, a pioneer in communal monasticism, an ardent foe of the Arians, and a liturgist.  (Did you realize that Basil's Divine Liturgy is even longer than John Chrysostom's?  It's hard to believe, I know.) 

But something that I think is less well known is his series of nine sermons about the creation:  The hexameron... and YES, I had to look up how to spell that.  It's a series of nine sermons he preached on the creation.  Basil was into creation.  He said that if we pay attention to nature, we'll probably get around to thinking about who made it all.  That sounds reasonable.

Basil was so into nature that in one of his hexameron sermons he said this:

"...  [all creation] is really the school where reasonable souls exercise themselves, the training ground where they learn to know God; since by the sight of visible and sensible things the mind is led, as by a hand, to the contemplation of invisible things." (1)
And, really, isn't it helpful to have something to look at?  Something visible?  It helps me. 

You want to know who else is into creation and nature?   Bonaventure.  Bonaventure even listed all the attributes of nature that you should meditate on.  I think there are eleven of them.  John Calvin was so into it that he used it as his proof for God's existence.  He proclaimed that you should be able to tell that there's a God just by looking around, for crying out loud. 

See, it's not just the "spiritual but not religious" who find God in the sunset or a giant oak.  Or a grasshopper.  There are some veritable heavy-hitters who feel the same way about sunrise in a fishing boat. 

Francis Bacon said:
"God has, in fact, written two books, not just one.  Of course, we are all familiar with the first book he wrote, namely Scripture.  But he has written a second book called creation." (2) 
So the next time you hear the almighty Lillian Daniel going on about how you can't prove the existence of God by looking at a sunset, just look at her and say, "Bitch, who you think you are?  Immanuel Kant?"  Nobody is making the ontological argument.  We are just saying that there's merit in observing and entering into the life of nature.  It teaches us to notice things, to pay attention, to be quiet. 

See, Kant (and Lillian Daniel)  forgot something.  They forgot that people have their heart and their treasure in the same place.  And if God is your treasure then you are going to see God everywhere.  When someone tells me that they find God in sunsets and on their toast, then I think "Hallelujah... thank ya Geasus."  Because that is a person who can see God just about anywhere.  They may be a little weird (toast) but I know where their treasure is.  

 You can get Jesus on your toast too!  Less than fifty bucks on Ebay.  

Where Immanuel and Lillian differ is that Kant actually did make a moral argument for the existence of God.  Lillian Dainel...? Not too sure.  I think she has some blog posts or something. 

So, anyway, just let nature speak to you and take joy in horny insect sounds.  That's as good and spiritual and Christian as anything else.  And I hope you liked the haiku. 

Sorry I went off on Lillian Daniel.
OK, not really.


1 -  Bacon, Francis. The Advancement of Learning,. Eugene, Ore.: Oregon Renascence Editions, 199.

2 -  Translated by Blomfield Jackson. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 8. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1895.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <>.

You can read the entire text of Basil's sermons on the hexaemeron here.

If you want to see some pictures of Jesus and his mother on various food items, go here

If you're interested to know why Jesus doesn't show up on your food, go here.

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