Writing with the Caterpillars

Spring in the Washington, DC area is a glorious thing.  Everything’s green and pretty, and the temperature is in the right place to be able to sit out and soak up all that sun.  So I usually go outside during lunch at work, especially to get out of being in the building all day.

We have a nice area with some trees and grass. Sometimes I work on critiques, sometimes I write, sometimes I read, and I always do a short walk. There are three or four picnic tables under the trees, and I share these with the green and black caterpillars and the occasional white spider.

I don’t know why, but the caterpillars like to crawl on the table. I’m usually picking the table because there are not as many caterpillars on it. The green ones are very tiny and almost a Day-Glo green. They move by hunching up their middle and then will periodically raise half their body to look around or smell the air.

The black ones are more of the problem. They have so many legs that they look fuzzy. They’re about two inches long, and they crawl everywhere. I’ll be sitting at the table and have to keep an eye out for them as I write because they don’t seem bothered by this big person sitting at the table. They’ll crawl right under my arms as I write, or along the bench I’m sitting. Even I’m not exempt! I’ve suddenly looked down and realized they’re headed for me, or they’ve found my notepad interesting.

One of the things I don’t like about being a writer is that a computer — my general tool of writing — comes with an inherent office environment, and sometimes I really need to get away from that. A notepad is a good tool for that, even if I get to share it with a few caterpillars.

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