We hear the sky tractors before we see them. They are loud and pulse. And can be a few miles away and we still know the crop dusters are working. We wondered what they were spraying for this late in the season. The corn has tassled. Kevin Jensen, who was born and raised as a Nebraska farmer said they were spraying Furadan to get rid of the grasshoppers. I’ve read how grasshoppers can swarm so intensely they eat everything that is green, leaving dust, and a heartbroken, starving farmer. Even last year, I heard reports of this from western farmers.

Yup, they’re here. We saw on hop onto the carriage. And the evenings have been loud with locusts.

The crop duster swooped in. He was so low he almost clipped the oak tree I look at each day.

It’s like our own personal air show. The pilot’s skill is amazing. He has to clear power lines and trees while swooping as close as he can to the crop.

He came near sunset. The wind was out of the south. I felt nauseous pretty quick and brought Morgen in, shutting up the barn. I picked up her hay bags. Just before he finished, our neighbor came over to watch. I sat in his gator and chatted about his vacation, but when things quieted I told him I wanted to let my horse out for a few hours, so he left.

But when I went out to put Morgen in the barn for the night, I saw beauty on the ground. Fireflies spotted the ground. I cussed out the planes, the farmer, for killing them. Grief for God’s good world that we break trying to do good. People are starving, people made in God’s image.

By now Bruce came out. We walked around to look at the honeybees who have swarmed, who have found our milk house as a place to nest. I was even stung when I closed the gate to keep Morgen in as we opened up the west side of the barn to put up hay.

Here’s what we found.

Maybe the bees inside the milk house were okay. But the spray coated everything, even a water bucket I use to dunk my hay since Morgen developed respiratory issues this spring.

When we walked back to the house we saw a dragon fly down and struggling to fly. When we’ve driven Morgen around the fields we’ve pointed out the dragon flies and the Monarchs that seemed to flit around us. Last year a whole swarm of dragonflies passed through our farm headed south.

The feral cat stopped to drink water. She has been so shy she has not appeared. I wondered if she was caught by the spray. Her tail was puffed. We hoped she’d find the food we set out for her kitten who hides behind the skids.

For God so loved the world…not just humans, the world. God emptied himself to make room for trees and birds and grass and dragon flies and lightning bugs and corn and soybeans and the men who wheel into the sky and down in a little airplane and me. We try to be kind to the world while working to draw crops out of the ground but we can’t seem to avoid doing damage.

Creation groans for the revealing of the sons of God, revealing our right to be the sons of God, where we release the power that raised Christ from the dead that lives in us. Where we simply love our neighbor. But we can’t even do that.

I weep for the dead lightning bugs, dragonflies and bees.

People are starving. People are worth more than dead bugs and dead birds though if you pull the bugs out, and the birds and the bats, we might well starve. A swarm of grasshoppers eating everything green would leave more animals dead and people starved. 

Well, it’s time for chores. I’m going to go check on the bees and hope I don’t get stung.

The Next Day

The next day I wake up to a quiet misty morning. I take Little Dog down the road and stop to see a bright green grasshopper on the tarred and chipped surface.

The corn towers, a spiked wall, blocking the view down the valley to the silver grain bins and the railroad tracks. The view shuts down when the corn is planted. We’ve heard it crackle as it grows. Now it’s tasseled, doing it’s corn sex thing and growing ears.

I walk and give thanks. My mind drifts. I listen. Feel my steps. Give thanks. Little Dog stops to do her business. I wave at a Suburu that passes. I walk down to the crossroad.

The clover has been exceptionally beautiful, so I wanted to take a picture. I leaned down  and behold I saw a bee nursing the clover. A bee. Our honey bees are housed on the same side of the milk house. I thought for sure they’d not survive The Spray. But they did. And when we drove the horse later three dragon flies flirted with us and a Monarch danced by. Thank you.