North Carolina Part 2: Caterpillar tree

It was morning time and not yet so hot. They were up early…of course.

Five human critters stood around the sad looking tree as if it were a birthday Pinata, looking high into the branches. One with the broom handle began whacking at the trunk and lower branches to send a rain of tree treasure to the ground. The others scrambled with their plastic bowls and buckets to gather hundreds of chunky black caterpillars careful not to step on them.  

(a nasty gooey sloppy mess!)

The critters counted as they gathered: “21…35…, 68…, caterpillars in just one of the buckets!”

But that wasn’t enough. No there was more in that tree, and they knew it!

When the tree hacking slowed, the critters resorted to the next best thing–water guns!

They were gone in a flash. But that didn’t work!

So now throw anything up into the branches to get more. Shirts rolled up like balls, hats, buckets began flying in the air. The plastic water gun pieces and bike helmet stuck high in the branches, but it was worth the sacrifice as hundreds more crawly black bugs fell to the sidewalk. 

Some critters got their fill and began to run off in ones and twos to create homes for their new caterpillar pets, snatching grass clippings and leaves to put in the plastic homes. But one boy decided it was time to get serious. He wrapped his arms and legs around the trunk as if he were climbing a palm tree, and scampered clear up into the branches. He hoisted the helmet and plastic pieces back to the ground and then grabbed onto upper leaves to shake those fat caterpillar eaters down. As more fell he climbed to the ground as fast as a monkey, gathered up the last few, jumped on his bike and rode away. The tree stood alone and silent–

It’s all about the hunt and the prize.

A little piece of ingenuity and cooperation.

They all came to the tree to find what they needed, and then…

they ran off to find something else. 

Summertime and little human critters gotta do what they gotta do–especially to caterpillar trees–

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