Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Tears for the Fallen

It seems like every day on the news we hear of another school shooting, or another sniper attack on innocent drivers on interstate 10 in Phoenix. Not to mention the soldiers that defend us whose lives are taken in battle or due to tragic accidents. Bad news seems to dominate every aspect of our lives.

I am always so sad to hear of another fallen due to negligence or pure evilness of another. Tonight I was face to face with another senseless slaughter, sadly, in my own home.

I guess I need to start at the beginning.

I love dogs. I love all dogs. I love all animals. Animals are non-judgmental. They don't care what you look like, what religion you belong to, or who you vote for. They love you because you love them. I have always had a very special relationship to all animals. My dad was the same. Animals have a sense about people and can tell when you mean them no harm. There were always animals coming up to my dad to eat from his hand. Little chipmunks, squirrels, butterflies and even the odd caterpillar. (But that's another story.)

I inherited that trait from him as animals have always shown me the kindness that I show them. I have numerous birds land in my hand to be fed, so many butterflies have landed on me I have lost count of the number. I have gotten vicious dogs to lay down at my feet with nothing more than an outstretched hand and a soft voice. The same for insects. I have never had fear of them because if they see you coming and you aren't invading their space, typically they will leave you alone. Any animal will defend itself if cornered. From the smallest insect to the largest elephant. I always approach with caution and care. I have taken some amazing photos because of the caution and care.

I took some amazing photos of an insect that because of his coloring, thought he was dead. I was saddened by the loss as he was a praying mantis. Praying mantis' are what are known as beneficial bugs. They, like my favorite insect the lady bug, eat other not so beneficial bugs such as aphids. I'm not sure what the diet of a praying mantis consists of but I know that as an organic gardener, I'm glad to have both species in my garden.

This praying mantis however wasn't dead. I know this because when I spotted him I thought he was trapped in a spider web and was going to dislodge the spider to greener pastures instead of my garage door. When I bent down to move the web and said praying mantis, the mantis moved. I could't get my camera fast enough. This was my chance to photograph a juvenile mantis.

This is the mantis. He is sitting on my husband Lance's hand. As you can see he is not the bright green color that you would normally associate with a mantis but a dull tan color. He was also completely happy to be sitting on this odd surface. I got multiple photos of him but this one was my favorite. He just kept moving his head and followed me as I photographed him.

This was a photo of him a few days later sitting on a rock in the planter for my hibiscus tree. He was just starting to turn a lovely shade of green.

This is my beautiful girl Laci. She was rescued in March of 2014. She is my Boston "Terror" and I love her unconditionally. She is one of the lights of my life. She is also an exterminator. An unpaid exterminator. A sometimes, like today, unwanted exterminator. She committed murder on my poor praying mantis. I knew she had a bug when she came in because of the way she was acting. I was thinking it was one of the usual suspects, probably a June bug or a cricket. No, it was my lovely praying mantis who was finally the beautiful green color of an adult. I hadn't seen him in a couple of days and was hoping to see him again when he finally turned his adult color so I would have a completed set. Sadly he was missing his head when she finally dropped him. I couldn't bring myself to scold her because it's what she does. But I was still saddened at the loss of my beneficial insect. 

So here's to you dear mantis. You were well loved while you were alive and sadly, you made a tasty snack for my sweet exterminator. 

Until next time,


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