One day, I was exploring my backyard (carrying my bow and arrows with me just in case, of course), when I thought to look down. The grass, though many people forget, is teeming with life, and I soon found an adorable little grasshopper.
I invited him to crawl onto my finger, and to my delight, he did so.
“What’s your name, little grasshopper?” I asked.
“Greenie,” he chirped.
“That’s a nice name,” I told him, though in actuality, I was thinking that it wasn’t the most creative name for a little green guy. But I refrained from mentioning this. “My name is Elizabeth.”
“That’s a mouthful,” he said. “I don’t have a mouth big enough for a word that long.”
Giggling, I replied, “Well, you can call me Liza. Some others do.”
I began walking as I spoke to my little friend. “Where do you live?” I asked.
“Oh, many, many feet away, in a big bush near a wide, flat rock that goes on for yards!”
“How did you get here?” I questioned as I pondered which bush he could be talking about.
“I hopped away from home two days ago,” he confessed with a sniffle.
“Because I wanted an adventure. Mama always said never to leave the bush, but I disobeyed, and now I’m lost.”
Stroking his hard, smooth back with a gentle finger, I tried to comfort him. “It’s okay, Greenie. I’ll help you find your mama.”
“You will?” he squeaked. “Oh, joy! Thank you so much, Liza!” He gave my finger tiny grasshopper kisses.
I laughed, and then looked around for bushes.
“Hold on,” I told Greenie, and I felt his little feet immediately grab my finger tight as I began to skip through the grass toward the nearest bush.
When I reached it, I lowered my finger toward the leaves and asked, “Is this your home, Greenie?”
He looked around and then replied, “No, this isn’t where my family lives.”
I thought I could see a tiny grasshopper tear in his eye. “It’s okay, Greenie. I promise, we’ll find your mama.”
I walked quickly toward the next bush I saw, growing in the sun beside a large rock. “Is this your home?”
“No, it doesn’t look familiar. It’s near a rock, but the rock where I live is very different-yikes! There’s a snake on that rock!”
I backed away, examining the snake as I did so. “Oh, don’t worry, Greenie. It’s only a garter snake. It wouldn’t hurt a fly. Only birds, frogs, and worms, those types of things.”
“Are you sure?” The quivering grasshopper clung to my fingertip, his eyes wide as he watched the snake.
“If it makes you feel better, I’m moving off just in case.” I trudged through the long grass to my driveway.
Greenie suddenly hopped off of my finger and onto the brick wall of my house. “Thanks for all your help, Liza, but it doesn’t look like we’re ever going to find Mama.” He began to cry. “I won’t bother you anymore. You can go back to exploring.”
“Oh, Greenie.” I crouched in front of him and looked him straight in the eyes. “I want to help you. That’s what friends do.”
“You’re my friend?” he asked, the smile returning to his face.
“Of course I am! And I’m not going to rest until we find your mama.”
He hopped back onto my finger and started to say “Thank you,” but stopped, staring straight ahead, to my left.
“What is it?” I asked, and then I turned.
“My bush!” he exclaimed. “Mama! Mama!”
A faint chirping came from the bush, and Greenie giggled with excitement. “Mama!”
“But where’s the rock?” I wondered.
He jumped off my finger and onto the cement driveway. “Right here! A wide, flat rock, just like I told you!” Bouncing toward the bush, he disappeared into the thick leaves.
“Just like that?” I peered into the greenery after him, trying to see where he had gone, but I couldn’t find him. Sighing, I sat down on the ground, sad that my new friend had gone without saying goodbye.
Then, something landed on my nose, I crossed my eyes to see what it was, and found Greenie perched right on the tip!
He squeezed my nose with his six little legs, as hard as he could. “Thank you so much, my friend Liza, for helping me find my Mama.”
Smiling, I said, “You’re welcome, Greenie, my grasshopper friend. I was glad to help.”
He gave my nose a tiny grasshopper kiss. “I’ll see you later, Liza.”
And then he disappeared into the bush again.