who flies?

02/03/2023 1 By BuddyCushman

I was thinking about the old TV show Kung Fu with David Carradine and his Master Fu Manchu kind of guy, who always prefaced his thoughts by calling Carradine “Grasshopper.” I liked that, and every once in a while through these decades it’s come back and I’ve called someone, like a group-home kid I was working with, “Grasshopper.” I’ve been called it myself maybe a handful of times.

When I was a kid, way before that series showed up on the TV, I really liked grasshoppers. Especially flying grasshoppers. Of course, the whole flying thing, the ability to fly, is big. Some of why I’m digging dragons so much these days. It was fun to sneak up on one which had landed six or seven feet away in the grass or on a patch of dirt, knowing I was stealthy enough to whisk my magic hand out quickly enough to catch him, or her. And 9,999 times out of ten thousand at the last possible sec the grasshopper would lift up, up, and away, me standing there and, I swear, hearing what sounded like giggling.

I loved fireflies too, and they were easier to catch with a glass jar in one hand and it’s top in the other, swooping in, creating something like a wicked cool light with 10 or 15 in the jar beside my bed. Of course, the all-night captivity was a death sentence, which was never my intention, though I could and should have seen that. I don’t know, you screw-up and if you’re lucky you start to see things more clearly, make some kind of cosmic amends or something, and change. I still might try for a flying grasshopper if one should appear before me this weekend, but every firefly on the planet has my blessing and gratitude and honest vow to leave them be.

“Yes, grasshopper. If you’re lucky you get to keep on keeping on, try to be just a bit better today than last week. It’s what we call your job. What we make clear is your path.” Master Po pauses, looks deeply into young David’s eyes. “Remember, grasshopper. Kindness is everything.”