The Rare Glint of Green

We’ve done something to anger the rain gods.

It could be me. I commit countless sins every day. I hurl trash from my car… well, I throw out my apple core. I drive aggressively, I tailgate. I make snide remarks to friends and coworkers — often to their faces.

Maybe it’s Martin and his obsession with horrible TV shows. I’ve threatened to divorce him or cut off his head with a cleaver, the next time that I see “Burn Notice,” or any dopey show from the USA Network on TV.

Maybe we’ve let the kids pee outside too many times.

Whatever the reason, the rain gods are not pleased. Each time a storm comes our way, swallowing up the ridge near the river — a sure-fire, close-the-windows, here-comes-the-wet, text message from nature — the roving rain swings to the north, or slithers down the river, west of us.

After weeks of nature’s snub, we’re left with brown-yellow dead grass that’s sharper than gravel on bare feet. The only hint of color comes from Martin’s mowing weeks ago — in the days when grass still grew — when the mower blades chewed up and spit out all sorts of toys belched from the car or dropped from little hands. Glimmers of yellow, blue and red scattered here and there.

When I glimpsed the bright green, I assumed it was just another mangled toy, until it moved and revealed itself as the coolest caterpillar to wander our parched piece of earth.

Due to its colors and markings, we assumed it was poisonous (we still let the kids pass it around) but after a careful scouring of the web, I learned that it’s harmless, just bright and cheerful.

Behold, the white-lined sphinx caterpillar. It looks like a slug that swallowed glow-in-the-dark paint and fought a red sharpie.