Snowflakes. Sweet gentle, delicate, lacy things. No two are identical.
They value diversity. They clump together to create intricate designs. As they slip and slide from the sky, they reach out to help one another. To lift each other up. Occasionally, one flake may lose a piece of itself while helping another. They join, and rejoin to create beauty in the eyes of people who are alive.
Children lick the snowflakes from the sky with pure delight. They sled and play in them.
Adults, those who are living and breathing with nature, enjoy their beauty from afar. They sip hot coffee, or hot chocolate, from the warmth of a fire. They know, the more snow, the more flowers spring will bring.
Adults who ignore nature, or see it as beast to be tamed, fret, argue, and scream at snow, as they beat it into water, slosh it way, and drive over it, abandoning their family time for isolated buildings far away.
Occasionally, the wind will roar. Snow will form a blizzard. It will cover everything. While it may look on the surface as if it is a uniform texture and coverage, it rarely is. It has humps, bumps, hills, dales, valleys, and even gentle streams lurking underneath.
When it melts away in spring, the beauty revealed makes all want to enjoy it. Streams and rivers form. The ground is softened, ready to grow. Farmers know deep snows will bring forth abundant crops. Many regions depend on the deep snows for drinking and irrigation water.
Without the blizzards, droughts haunt the breadbasket of our country.
Like snowflakes, grasshoppers are pretty and fun for children to chase. When they occur a few at a time. Most are harmless. They simply eat a little grass and grain, and become the snacks of spiders and birds.
Once, our nation was covered in these tiny creatures. Now, they are rare.
Like snowflakes, grasshoppers can create storms on the wind, called locust swarms. Although locust swarms were once common in the US, they have been gone for almost 100 years.
When grasshoppers combine to swarm, they don’t do so to lift each other up. They gorge. They become larger. More extreme. Identical. Giant grasshoppers, all teeth and stomach. They fly together. They eat everything in sight. They are so ravenous, their tiny jaws will bite the flesh of human and animals as they engulf crops, grass, leaves, and any green thing in their path.
They leave destruction and death in their wake. Destroyed crops may extend for hundreds of miles in either direction. Before the days of the engine, entire villages would be wiped out, as grasshoppers ate the crops the people and animals depended on for winter.
However, unlike snowflakes who build each other up, locusts tear each other down. They abandon their weak, their wounded, the legless, and the wingless, to die a miserable death eating the last few hidden bits of grain in a location they devastated.
Not only that, locusts lay eggs in the millions that will hatch and eat next year’s crop as it rises out of the ground. It may take decades for a region to recover it’s flora and fauna from a locust storm.
Are you a snowflake lifting others up? Valuing and creating more diversity? Creating beauty in the now, and furthering life after you melt in the warmth of spring?
Or a locust, eating everything in sight, and leaving the once fertile fields barren of life?