Rachel's dream (vi)

The cockroach quickly began to walk the length of the boardwalk and Rachel followed along. It stopped occasionally to explore, to feel its way and she would pause as well, watching it enjoy the stroll. The boardwalk, and the embankment on which it sat, dead-ended into a wooden fence higher than her head, making it the far back corner of the vacant lot.

When the bug reached the dead-end, it stopped and waited for Rachel, as it had since it was small just as the many other times she’d released it. The roach acted as a well trained pet. But instead of placing it back into the box, Rachel placed it on the ground in the dirt surface of the vacant lot. Immediately it used its many, many legs to begin to dig a hole, not a burrow into which to escape, but a broad open hole like a dog would dig on a hot day, seeking a cool place to lie. When big enough to get into, the bug laid in it and laid still.

Rachel picked up a twig and passed it over the bug, making a faint shadow. When the shadow passed over the bug, its body became completely transparent, something she had never seen. She moved the twig and its shadow, and the bug was visible again. She did this several times in amazement at the creature’s ability to camouflage itself so completely, to protect itself so efficiently, to adapt so miraculously to an environment for which it was meant but had never known.

It was then that the songs of birds, whose names Rachel did not know, and the cool breeze came into her window, swept across her face, and woke her.

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