Saturday, August 27, 2005

Bug love

I was going to pull out the gigantic wormwood plant at the other end of the garden (big fluffy thing from which absinthe is made) when I buried my hands into the old wood and started to pull -- and a GIGANTIC praying mantis daintily stepped over my knuckles to drop to a lower branch.

This was a mature female, with closed darkened wings and a full six or seven inch length. I looked at her. She turned her head completely around and looked at me. We stood there for a moment.

Then I did something really bizarre: I petted her. I said, "Hello there!" very softly, and using only my index finger, gently stroked her back. She didn't budge, just kept looking at me. Then she took a step forward and stopped again, looking back at me. I said, "Nice to have you here!" and petted her back again! It was smooth going from head to tail, but rough and bristly from tail to head (I was actually stroking her closed wings).

I petted and talked to this praying mantis for a good ten minutes before she tired of me and dropped to another, much lower branch. I didn't even bother to dash inside for the camera. I simply savored the bond, and then went back to gardening. However, the wormwood plant was spared.


Trina said...

(((L))) I love how alike we are! I've been known to pet bugs in my time on numerous occasions.

I once had an overly-close encounter with a preying mantis - I was letting it walk on my arm and talking to it, and it was gazing at me intently. Next thing I knew, it flew in my face! Turns out it decided to attack the mantis it saw in my glasses LOL! Now I remember to keep my encounters with predatory insects sans spectacles :~D

Tania said...

Seven inches of praying mantis EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

I see two inches of cockroach in my bathroom and pretty much have an epileptic fit.

katiedid said...

I would never be able to be that close to bug like that - it's partly me just being squeamish, and mostly because my dog is a mighty bug hunter, and protects me from foes small and tiny. (The big foes he just barks at while he stands under my legs.)

Kate said...

That's cool! Dave found a walking stick last night and I hadn't seen one of those since I was a kid. They are cool. :-) I'm with you on the bug love.

Trina said...

It's a bit late in the year, but I feel so neglectful about failing to mention this before. If you ever find a cicada emerging from its shell (or just before or after), DO befriend it! They are sweet creatures, and their colors immediately after leaving the shell all the way up to maturity are gloriously beautiful.

They are friendlier insects than mantises (though they *might* try to stick their proboscis in your hand if they mistake you for a tree - a bit uncomfortable but not painful) and are just beautiful in color and pattern on their wings and bodies. They're an experience not to be missed.