352: Photo shootPosted: September 10, 2011 | |
With all the models posing in the meadows, I thought it time to do a real photo shoot. Over the past couple of days I’ve spent a few hours outside with the Praying Wotsits. (Thank you, Brian, for supplying me with a good name for these strange creatures.)
The number of praying mantises in the meadows is astounding. It’s possible they come out in droves like this every year, but prior to this commitment, I never knew. I’d see the occasional Praying Wotsit by the house or on an ironweed plant when I bothered to venture forth during the latter days of summer when the weather was still hot and humid.
They are such strange, alien looking creatures. I wonder if the depictions and descriptions of aliens in the sci-fi genre were influenced by the praying mantis. It is the only insect that can rotate its alien-looking head almost completely around. (Shades of The Exorcist…?)
They also look like little yogis (or yoginis) to me. Their flexibility is amazing.
I finally spotted some of the solid green mantises. They were probably there all the time, blending right in with the foliage.
Apparently the Praying Wotsit takes on the color that blends best with its surroundings. A mantis living among green leaves when it moults will usually appear green whereas a mantis living among dried or brown leaves will appear brown. Some will even take on a blend of colors. They are very good at taking on the shape of the stem or leaf on which they are sitting.
If you look carefully in the above photo, you’ll see this Wotsit is enjoying a yellowjacket. The wasps appear to be a favorite of the mantises in our meadows.
There. A close-up. Now you can see the wings of the wasp. (As with all photos on my blog, click to see a slightly larger version. Otherwise, you might miss the wings.)
What I find extremely fascinating is the way the mantises will follow both sight and sound. Usually they will look up at me as I come near, then go back to whatever they are doing. They respond when I ask them to look up at me by doing just that. They look up at me.
I am learning something from the stillness and the silence of the praying mantis. Patience, of course, as happens when focusing on anything in nature. They are helping me find my own inner stillness.
There is a beauty in their strangeness.
And a strangeness in their beauty.
If I were a poet, I would write an ode to the Praying Wotsit.
You call me Praying Mantis, because I hold my front legs in the position of prayer. You should call me Preying Mantis, because when I am focused on having something, these same front legs grasp it and hold it securely. That is part of my mystique. Whatever I focus my attention on becomes mine… and then the twist is that I become it, as well. For that is the nature of trickster energy — what your native people call “heyoka.” The process of becoming your true self breaks down the illusion that any of us are separate from each other, because the more you individuate, the more you release the perimeters that keep you separate from the rest of life. More heyoka! How would you treat me if you knew I was you? Can you see how transformed life on this garden planet would be? Can you dream the possibilities?
~ Cie Simurro aka Thunderbird Starwoman