Thursday, August 3, 2017

A mantis prayer

Because we do awful things to critters, we convince ourselves (and each other) that they are not aware.

The praying mantis saw me--she was sitting on an unripe pumpkin on a vine that meanders along the back yard, green on green. I was on my belly, my head a foot or two away.

I turned my head, she turned hers. I turned my head back again, and she followed.

I could not now her mindset, or if she even had a mind. (To be fair, she could not know mine, either).

A tiny ant wandered over to one of her back feet--she lifted it up, then put it back. The same ant then wandered over to one of her middle feet, and again, she raised her leg, then settled it back on the pumpkin, green on green, all the while staying focused on me.

I watched her for a few minutes, and she watched me. We both had the time, midsummer is kind that way.

In September, once school starts, chances are I will be too busy to lie on my belly watching another living being go about her business on a pumpkin. She will also be too busy to pay me much mind--the nights are growing longer, she'll be restless looking for food, for a mate, for a place to lay her eggs.

By November, she will be dead, and I will, God willing, be carrying on in my classroom, sharing what I know, and at least as important, what I do not know.

Our breaths are finite.
What do you want your mortal charges to know?

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