Saturday, September 27, 2008

Maybe my last praying mantis post for the year, maybe.

It is a beautiful day today. Blue sky, lots of monarchs, in the high 8os, and there is a block party going on right now so I get to listen to live Zydeco. But a little earlier I saw this guy...

I felt bold and picked him up to have a look at him. He was not too into it.

I put him down.

But then I picked him up again..........only to put him back down. He was getting very put out by this.

"That looks like a good place to get away from this very unpleasant woman...well, actually any place would be better than where I am now."

This is not a good thing when you see a praying mantis doing this.

Getting closer.

Yeesus (as my Norwegian relatives would say)!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAGH!

I could not get him off of me. As soon as I thought I had him off my camera, he had jumped on my arm, and when I thought I got him off my arm, he jumped to my shoulder. AAAAAAAAGH. 

Meanwhile, Cathy Jean was taking all this in while I twirled around trying to get that darn praying mantis away from my face!! If anyone looked in my backyard, they might think some middle-aged woman was dancing alone to the accordian music... sincerely and  furiously.

Okay, calmness. I managed to put the praying mantis on the elm tree. I watched him nervously. He scrutinized me. He was pretty fed up. But then he saw an ant coming down the tree. The praying mantis did a little dance (I suppose Zydeco music could make even bugs start moving to a beat). He continued his weird little shaky dance up the tree...and then positioned himself above the ant. They looked at each other. The ant was probably as confused by the mantis's stupid looking dance as Cathy Jean was with my twirling one.   

They considered each other and then...BAM. The ant was headless (I think the praying mantis was thinking of doing the same thing to me). I watched him chomp away while he carefully licked his fingers to keep them clean. My camera's battery ran low during all of this (of course) so that was that. The rest of the insects are overjoyed that they get the rest of the day off from me sticking a camera in their business. Right now they are listening and singing along to live human music while they celebrate my absence in the backyard.


Country Girl said...

Wow! Attack of the praying mantis! And it's not a Japanese film dubbed in English. Excellent!

Gran said...

Well, we all need nourishment!

Mair said...

Hahahaaha! good thing i am in cleveland - AND without a camera... i'd have lent one to Cathy Jean!

Maria said...

Heyyyyyyy-You guys are cruel!

(haha haha)

Amongst The Oaks said...

I really enjoyed your story about the mantis. I had a similar episode two weeks ago with some in our yard. Then just this weekend whilst dead heading the roses, one walked up my arm to my bare shoulder. But I like bugs, so it was a fun experience.
Cheers, Laura

Maria said...

Laura-Aw, thank you. I really like mantises too despite being attacked by one and witnessing how and what they eat. This past summer was a real learning experience for me.

45 and Aspiring said...

Hi--It's me, backstalking your blog. I couldn't resist the tag pretty insects. I bought myself a pretty insect book while X-mas shopping. This story about the praying mantis is hysterical! This is definitely one you need to capture and write up and illustrate as a kid's book! Complete with the "thing" on the camera. It would be a winner! I'm working on a little turtle story (and I'm a huge fan of kids books & juvey lit and turtles), so I guess this is why it is on my mind. . . But don't let this one pass you by! Your description of the dance is beautiful! I can write, but I can't draw at all. . . you've got it made!

Maria said...

45-Thanks for your encouragement. I don't consider myself a writer because I struggle with writing so much. I sooooooo admire people who can set a mood and tell a story in such detail you can smell what they're cooking in their kitchen AND in just 20 words or less. Takes me 1000 words and 3000 prepositions to just introduce a thought. But I guess that's just me. I have one friend who said maybe my technique is not where I want it to be but that I did have content. I know that in art, content is more important than technique just about every time. Maybe I should just try to be less critical and not think about what I am or am not.

This particular day really set itself up good for a story. I could not believe the background music and that particular mantis's personality. Good Lord. I don't ever want to mess with him again. I don't know about it becoming a real storybook type story (we're always our own worse critics though, aren't we?) but I'll keep the idea in the back of my mind.

When I found those Vienna Workshop postcards of bugs, I thought of you immediately (the post from Jan 5, 2009?). The story that I had written and set aside for....must be ten about (big surprise) insects. I started researching stylings and came across that set of postcards. It's incubating in my head so who knows, maybe this year will be the year I finally send that book proposal to a publisher.

You be an editor, right? :-)

45 and Aspiring said...

Actually I am editor. . . but for health content for consumers. I've always wanted to write fictions or essays-carving out the content is the hard part! I can tell a good story so much more easily than write it. Maybe we should collaborate on the writing and you can illustrate! What kind of illustrations do you do?