creatures great and horned

yesterday, i was sitting at my desk, doing what i do, when one of the librarians came rushing up to me. she told me i had to go see something. we walked out of the building, up to the sidewalk, judy checking the ground. then we saw it. a very large bright green caterpillar with an orange face and butt, adorned all over her head and back with large black and orange horns. she was about 5 or 6 inches long and a good 1/2 round and fiercely beautiful.

i got very excited and told judy to go get a box. i didn’t want the poor thing to get smooshed by a student or a car. we decided to take it to the biology department. now, i figured that the wonderful experts over there would take a look and nonchalantly declare it something unpronounceably common. instead, we got, “what the hell is that?” “where’s the entomologist?” “eeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwww,” “does it bite?” “that’s not real! is it real?” and the like. they decided to take it to the insectorium to keep it safe, since by this time, the poor thing was totally stressed and beginning to shrivel.

when i got back to my desk, i googled, “entomology caterpillar monster” and found that my precious worm was a hickory horned devil, totally harmless despite its fierce appearance.

then today….
going back to work after lunch at home, not three blocks from my house, i almost ran over a great blue heron! she was standing in the middle of the road. i stopped. she looked at me and then she flew off. i had to sit there for a good long time to collect myself.

a great blue heron! in the fuckin middle of suburbia! berwyn! just 20 miles from philly for goddess sake!

what does it mean when a great blue heron crosses your path?

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