I was walking down the street on a bright sunny day recently when my daughter, the Rocket, pointed at a tree on the nature strip and said, “Can you get me some of those leaves?”
They were round, greenish-grey, and were on a vine creeping up other trees. I went to pick one of the leaves for her and that was when I saw a very excellent bug.
Considering our house is mostly inhabited by daddy-long-legs and that otherwise we just meet flies and wasps and millipedes that like to roll around and wait in corners, it was a very exciting little critter to see. It wasn’t long before I realised that the bug wasn’t alone; many of the leaves had bug friends on them, all with slightly different patterns on their backs, and all of them camouflaged into the leaves. It was really quite lovely, though the Rocket was concerned they were poisonous, and I did that grown-up thing where I reassured her that they weren’t but actually I had never seen them before and had absolutely no idea and was just trying to make her feel better.
Before I grew up and started writing stories about humans doing human things, I liked to write stories about basically anything I saw. If I was bored I would look around the room, see my dog, and then write a story about a dog who goes hunting bones with their dog friends. Or I’d see a jacket hanging over the back of a chair and imagine it walking around using the arms as legs and wrapping itself around people to keep them warm, or extra tight like a straitjacket to stop them from tapping on the glass of a fish bowl. So what would a bug get up to? Maybe it would sneak into the art room at a school and put more yellow paint on its back so that it could return to its friends in disguise. Maybe it learns how to sing because it’s so bored of being well-camouflaged and wants to stand out? Next time you see a bug, don’t forget that their lil legs are too small to hold pens – it’s up to you to write their story for them.