The day arrived! The Incredible Insect Competition. Insects from every direction were flying, buzzing, marching, clicking, jumping and crawling into town.
“I hope we win the Fanciest Formation prize,” insisted the Dragonfly Dancers.
“How about Longest Leap?” the Grasshopper Gang suggested.
“Forget it!” cried the Flea Family, hopping high above.
“Let’s try for Buzziest Buzz,” buzzed the Bumblebee Brood, but the June Bug Jamboree had the same idea.
“Pardon us,” pleaded the Ladybug League. “We just can’t think of an event to enter. We’re not fancy fliers, but rather clumsy. We’re not long leapers-not leapers at all. We’re not big buzzers, either. Oh well,” they said, sadly shrugging. “Good luck, friends!”
“Attention all insects! We will begin our first event, Fanciest Formation. Entering in this event are the Dragonfly Dancers, the Swarming Stingers, and the Hovering Honeybees.”
Each team prepared for their fancy formation. This year’s judges were Mr. Karl the katydid, Mrs. Pamela the praying mantis, and Miss Molly the moth.
“Three, two, one—begin!” announced Annie the ant announcer.
The teams were off, buzzing, flying, swooping and swirling. Each team formed a formation in the sky. The honeybees hovered above the judges. Mr. Karl tapped the table.
“Hmm…,” he hummed. Then, the Swarming Stingers swarmed toward them. Miss Molly wrapped her wings around her head.
“Whew,” she sighed.
“Go Swarming Stingers! You can do it!” yelled the Ladybug League. Next came the Dragonfly Dancers, delightfully dancing in duos in the sky above.
“Amazing agility!” admitted Mrs. Pamela. The judges jotted their score on a private piece of paper.
“Attention all insects! Event number two, Longest Leap is next. Competing in this event are the Grasshopper Gang, the Leaping Leafhoppers, and the Flea Family.”
Each team lengthened their legs for their long leap. This year’s judges were Miss Betty the butterfly, Mr. Anthony the aphid, and Mrs. Wanda the walking stick.
“Three, two, one—begin!” Annie announced.
The leapers lifted off, soaring side by side through the air, jumping over the judge’s table.
“Long leap, grasshoppers,” bellowed Miss Betty.
“High hop, fleas,” admitted Mr. Anthony.
“Lovely landing, leafhoppers,” whispered Mrs. Wanda.
“Go Grasshopper Gang! You can do it!” yelled the Ladybug League.
The judges jotted their score on a private piece of paper.
“Attention all insects! We will begin our third and final event, Buzziest Buzz. Entering in this event are the Bumble Bee Brood, the June Bug Jamboree, and the Hornet Hoard.”
Each team exercised their wings for the buzziest of buzzes. This year’s judges were Miss Christy the cricket, Mr. Logan the locust, and Mrs. Nina the gnat.
“Three, two, one—begin!” Annie announced.
The teams began busily buzzing their wings, faster and faster, louder and louder.
“Buzzy and fuzzy, Bumble Bee Brood,” Mrs. Nina noticed.
“Bumpy and thump-y, June Bug Jamboree,” Miss Christy critiqued.
“Loud and lingering, Hornet Hoard,” hollered Mr. Logan.
“Go Hornet Hoard! You can do it!” yelled the Ladybug League. The judges jotted their score on a private piece of paper.
“Oh no,” lamented the ladybugs, loudly. “That was the last event and we didn’t get to compete!” They hung their heads humdrum-ly.
“Attention all insects! That was the final event and the winners will be announced shortly! Such endeavored efforts and marvelous marvels!” Annie announced. All the insects eagerly entered the arena, including the Ladybug League.
“Good luck to all,” the Ladybugs yelled.
“Ahem. Mr. Karl will be announcing this year’s Incredible Insect Competition winners for the first event. Mr. Karl hopped to the stage with his kickers, carrying his private piece of paper.
“For Third Place, the Hanging Hoverers award goes to…Hovering Honeybees! For Second Place, the Swift Swarmers award goes to…Swarming Stingers! And for First Place, the Fanciest Formation award goes to…Dancing Dragonflies!” The crowd cheered!
“Announcing for the second event is Miss Betty.” She waved her wings and whisked her way to the stage, carrying her private piece of paper.
“For Third Place, the Loveliest Landers award goes to…Leaping Leafhoppers! For Second Place, the Highest Hoppers award goes to…Flea Family! And for First Place, the Longest Leapers award goes to…Grasshopper Gang!”
“Our final announcer for the final event is Mrs. Nina.” Mrs. Nina unnoticeably neared the stage. Annie the ant lifted a large lens.
“Ah, there’s she is,” the insects indicated.
“For Third Place, the Loudest Lingerers award goes to…Hornet Hoard! For Second Place, the Bumpiest and Thump-iest award goes to…June Bug Jamboree! And for First Place, the Buzziest Buzz award goes to…Bumble Bee Brood!
“Fantastic our six-legged friends!” the Ladybugs applauded.
Then the proud pals of the ladybugs faced the league-the flyers, the leapers, and the buzzers announced loudly in unison, “And the Best Buds award goes to, the Ladybug League!”
The no longer regretful ladybugs, cheered loudly for being the cheeriest cheerers and the proudest participants at the most impressive Incredible Insect Competition ever!
New Edition of Thar’s a Reason for a Sneezin’
When a virus comes a poppin’ up and maybe some phlegm,
my lungs start tinglin’, twitchin’ and itchin’, and sing this little gem:
Oh boy. It’s a comin’. Cough, cough, cough. Somethin’s up me chest today and won’t ease off.
Even Daddy, he’s real strong, lets out a hack. Thar’s a reason fer a coughin’, I say, so best to stand back!
Keep a safe distance, cough into your arm, keep those germs a covered, but don’t be alarmed.
We’ll defeat those meddlesome germs, you, dad and me, with just a few precautions, we’ll be as healthy as can be.
“Thar’s a reason fer a coughin’, I say, and maybe for a bit, my life won’t be so normal, but fightin’ pesky critters, I just won’t quit.
Good days, bad days. We’ve all had a few. One without the other would just never do. Without the countless hours of working, chores, and say cleaning, without those hard-pressed moments to bring you to life’s meaning, you just wouldn’t feel the same on those restful, blissful days, doing what your heart desires in all the countless ways.
So in that old familiar saying, of work hard, play hard, when you’re down in the ruts, know you’ll appreciate tomorrow better, no ifs, ands, or buts.
Can I touch the stars? Are they there for me?
Run my hand through stardust for free?
Is the sky lit with a million sparks,
to brighten the night when it’s most dark?
And the moon. The moon. It comes along,
to flash it’s light with a moonlit song.
Singing, little Earthlings, so near and dear,
here’s a light to erase your darkest fear.
And when I come back, to make things fun,
we’ll play a game of hide the sun.
If I climb a giant beanstalk, where might it take me?
Above the tallest cloud and past the farthest sea?
Would the grass be dappled pink with singing flowers,
trees with blue leaves and taller than towers?
How about a babbling brook with a soft rush of waves,
splashing on diamonds, disappearing into emerald caves?
What if the sky in this place, instead of hues of blue,
is a glowing canvas of pink with an orange glaze, too?
And when my tummy growls hungry, all I’ll have to do
is touch my right temple and brew up a stew.
If it’s sweet giant corn that rather tickles my fancy,
or a watermelon slice so tall that I can’t see,
past the very top nor around either side,
a nice nibbled tunnel chewed down to the hide
will fill up my tummy, so yummy, so yummy,
so off to sleep on a me-sized feather
is where I’ll want to go, in beautiful weather
with flowers humming lullabies and wind blowing me to rocking,
I’ll rest my tired feet from all the climbing and the walking.
But what will I dream that could possibly be more grand,
than my world above the sky in my very own land?
I’ll dream of you, with me, in that place,
holding my hand, drifting together, at our blissful pace.
The wind howls as the night devours the land. Shadows creep with each tick of a clock’s hand.
The day’s animals grow tired, cozying up in their warm beds, while other creatures of the night, like yourself, arise in delight with the sound of the wind.
Eyes like glowing balls of curiosity and opportunity peek from bushes and logs and dark crevices. The time has come for hunting and gathering under the faint light of the moon or along the reflective moon’s path on the water.
Others prefer a light-less night to their advantage, with the only specks of light from fireflies, dancing in unpredictable paths around the forest floor and some up toward the canopy. One flash in the right, or wrong, place could spell danger for the hunter, or the hunted.
Stay low…stay still…stay quiet.
Until…pounce, tumble, gnash, and gnarl. The hunt is over for some-a slight miss for others. A lucky break for the prey, or unlucky if tonight is his last.
Dinner, or is it breakfast, is served.
It’s off to find a mate. Look at me. I am fierce and full of life.
Then it’s off to find a source of water after the meal.
Maybe the hunt is for the babies in the den or up in the tree. This night is for them, not so much for me.
A quick dip in the river or through the falling water, cleans and cools on a sweltering night-warms and cleans on others, when the water’s warmth can be seen escaping in the chilly air.
If it’s river-creatures you seek, here lies a bed of snacks-if you can catch one.
When your den of cubs is a hungry bunch, you have to go it again, maybe for yourself this time. A mother doesn’t have much strength if she can’t also feed herself.
Besides the filling of the tummy, you are a fierce survivor and your steps demand a certain kind of respect in this circle of life you live in. Your every night and waking hour is missioned on living and preserving of your precious species-as is for the next hunter or hunted, and the next…in this grand forest of diversity.
The night grows shorter as the sky brightens ever so slightly. You learn something new each one.
Until the next, you purr, and it’s off to sleep again…your belly full and proud if you were lucky tonight. If you’re one of the hungry ones, there’s always tomorrow with its creeping darkness bringing new opportunity.
Sleep soundly, you perfect creature of the night.
Snowflakes in spring are the strangest of things.
Are they confused just a little or refuse to grow up?
Lost or abandoned, or none of the above?
Snowflakes in spring simply drop for a visit,
to say, “Enjoy the sun. She’s quite exquisite.
And in July and August, you’ll think of today
and long to remember-the snowflakes in spring.”
What about heat in December?
Perhaps One of My Favorites
When flow’rs go a poppin’ up and leaves grow out of limbs,
my nose starts tinglin’, twitchin’ and itchin’, and I sing this little gem:
Oh boy. It’s a comin’. Aaa-achooo! Somethin’s up me nose today, and thar she just blew!
Even Buddy, he’s me dog, squeaks out a blow. Thar’s a reason for a sneezin’,
I say, even for pets, ye know. For a teensy, pesky critter, too small to see, goes flyin’ through the air,
plumb to you and me, right up the nostrils where the nose sheriff says, “No way!”
“You can’t enter here. Not ever. And especially not today.
When September’s air changes to a chilly-nilly kind of cool,
summer’s ended, leaves are turning, kids are back in school,
Ms. Squirrel is busy, busy, gathering precious food.
For just around Fall’s corner, the cold winter broods.
What will she do those winter months with nothing much to do?
She’ll snuggle among her acorns-that’s what-and hibernate a few.
Sure she’ll miss the snowflakes falling and lovely hills of white,
but she’ll be dancing through the trees all the days and all the nights.