Friday, September 24, 2010

We've Had Fires & Floods And Now We're Going To Get Locusts

I've been living in Melbourne for two years and it's a very pleasant, easy going city on the whole. There have been a few climatic extremes which have surprised me: on the catastrophic Black Saturday in February 2009 the temperature reached 46.5 celsius (116.5 Farenheit) and the city was covered in a haze of smoke; and this winter it's apparently been wetter than it's been in decades and much of rural Victoria has been subjected to flooding (although I've quite enjoyed all the rain). Last year we had a small earthquake and everyone in my family got the swine flu (including my first born) and now Melbourne is about to get inundated with a plague of locusts. The Melbourne Age says it's going to be the biggest such plague in nearly a century which some people may find alarming, but not me. I'm looking forward to it. It will add a certain frisson to Pesach next year and it's bound to be good material for at least a short story. A plague of locusts has been a rich source of nightmares since Sunday School but as long as you're not a subsistence farmer apparently its not that bad. My wife spent several years of her childhood in Niger, west Africa and vividly recalls the locust invasions and the excitement they generated. Her story reminded me of an amazing scene in Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart where the locusts come and instead of being horrified the Nigerian peasants are grateful because of all that free protein hopping right into their laps.
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Why the picture of Homer Simpson? Come on, think about it...