Take the heart. The heart’s the dragonfly. It’s the grasshopper, that sings all summer and takes leaps of faith, from grass to leaf, from leaf into sky, halfway to the stars and falls back to the grass again, nonchalant. Who vaguely knows that winter will come but will take care of itself. Meanwhile the ant, oh god, the ant plods on. Eat. Sleep. Hoard. Clean. Eat. Sleep. Hoard. Clean. The ant is the body, and her demands must be met, at all times. Punctually. To-everything-there-is-a-season-and-a-time-to-every-purpose-under-the-heaven kind punctually. You know the type. There’s one in every neighbourhood. Earnest. And sternest. And lectures everybody far and wide about the importance of being both.
Now that winter’s almost here, she is rubbing her forelegs together in glee, waiting for the heart to turn up in her somewhat shabby but comfortable pad so that she, the ant, can tell her, the grasshopper, royally off for dereliction of proper duty. She even tries out her lines with different inflections – you sang all summer? now go and dance all winter, and then tries it out with the emphasis on “sang” instead. She has both of them pitch perfect. She’s so conscientious, she doesn’t know when it’s enough.
But the hearthopper doesn’t turn up, she’s MIA. Making most of the summer before it fades. Rocking the equinox. Living it up and down and sideways, burrowing real deep into the moment. So the ant goes out in search of the grasshopper. Besides being the body, the ant is also a busybody. And when she finds the grasshopper this is the conversation they have, the hopper and the ant, the heart and the body.
A: What are you doing? It’s going to be winter soon.
G: I know! I have to finish this before the season flips, this tune is for winter. Requires some – um - fine tuning hunh?
A: What are you going to do for the winter? Have you got any food?
G (stops singing for a minute): Food? Food? Music is food, you illiterate nutcase, haven’t you read your thingamajig?
A: No, I mean really, what are you going to eat? How are you going to keep warm?
G: Listen, I got warmth completely sorted. This tune? This tum ti ta tum tum ti ta? It’s to learn the shiverdrivel dance with. Dancing is going to keep me warm.
A (flustered and angry because the grasshopper keeps going off script) : What the hell’s going on here? That’s supposed to be me telling you to dance all winter. You’re being very irresponsible! No food, no firewood, and dancing to keep warm. Jeez! You’ll freeze to death! Look at me, I’ve worked hard all summer and gathered everything, and now I am all set for the next three months. You’d better do something fast. Because I am not sharing any of mine. Food. Or wood.
G: No-o-o! You wouldn’t do that? You would? Not even wood?
A: No, certainly not.
G: Okeydoke. Keep it all to yourself. But you do know that food tastes terrible when you eat it on your own alone, don’t you? Turns to ashes in your mouth. That’s a scientifically researched fact. Something to do with horrormoans. Or is it pheromoans? At any rate, some kind of moan interferes with the taste buds and screws up the entire chemistry of your oral cavity. Tum tum ti tum, tum tum ti tum. Food’s in one end and out the other/ memories are the thing to gather.
A: Oh, you are incorrigible!
G: Yup, that’s my first preference. Corrigible is horrigible. Not at all my cuppa. Or suppa. As you like it.
The ant finally sees she is making no headway and goes back miffed to her pad in the anthill. In spite of being so well provisioned and warm, she doesn’t really enjoy her winter much because she has this nagging suspicion that the grasshopper is having way more fun.
The grasshopper meanwhile learns the shiverdrivel dance and dances her way a little closer to the equator, where the grass is still green, and the trees are still in leaf; and the river flows sharp and silver like the glint in a rascal’s eye; and the stars hang like crazy fruits from the sky in the early evening even before the light has flickered completely out.