“come closer my dear….”

The Praying Mantis
From whence arrived the praying mantis?
From outer space, or lost Atlantis?
glimpse the grin, green metal mug
at masks the pseudo-saintly bug,
Orthopterous, also carnivorous,
And faintly whisper, Lord deliver us.

Ogden Nash

(Photograph: a different Praying Mantis from the other day, different bush/ Julie’s yard / 2013)

As I was pruning the bushes yesterday, chopping away and keeping one eye open for any wasp who decided I was a little too close for comfort, something suddenly came shooting out of the bush. It was low to the ground, scooting right for my legs, which in turn sent me lurching backwards waving the clippers precariously in defense of whatever was on the attack.

It, whatever it was, half flew half ran along the sidewalk right for my feet. “What in the heck is this!!!” my panicked brain attempts to sort out working on hyper speed to identify this eminent threat. It stops short of jumping on my foot. Thank the Lord!

Upon inspection I am somewhat relieved—a praying mantis, the boss of the yard bugs–his bravado is worse than his bite, that is for someone of my size, it would be a different story if we were of equal stature. I have a healthy respect for the mantis. No matter how small a praying mantis may be, it never backs down. They raise those little arms of theirs in defense—ready to “box” a larger opponent, or more effectively will simply bite the head off of an opponent closer to their own size. They police the yard pretty well.

After this one worked to chase me away from the bush, I in turn, worked to chase after him for a picture, sending him eventually scurrying for another bush. A mutual healthy respect. I know a mantis is good for the yard as it keeps the riffraff out of the neighborhood. I leave him alone, he’ll leave me alone. He causes no harm to my world, he’s not destructive, he’s not invasive. We can coexist. I’m good with that.

What did we, as human beings, miss about that concept–be not invasive nor destructive to your neighbor. Be beneficial, coexist. Sounds so simple, so easy. What can we learn, what haven’t we learned from how and from the way we deal with insects and animals—maintain a healthy respect….whatever happened to respecting our neighbor, our fellow man, our global community?

Be it opposing cultures, races, religions—whatever happened to the concept of coexisting? Mutual respect, harmony, live and let live?

I think a lot about this concept of living and let live, about harmony, about coexisting– given the news of the week and the situation in Syria. Very very troubling that all is…troubling for the Syrians indeed, troubling to their immediate neighboring countries, troubling for the global body of worldly neighbors. Oh to know the answers of such, how to handle the ones who don’t get the concept of be not destructive, be not invasive— coexist, live and let live.

And what about the bigger ones, the ones like me as compared to the mantis–I could have easily flattened him but I didn’t—why should I use my being the one “in charge”– the bigger of the two, the stronger more advanced of the two to simply kill him when he did nothing to hamper my life? Why do governments decide not to take their role as the body of those entrusted to care for those under their authority? Why do leaders decide some under their care are expendable while others are not?

Issues as old as time I suppose, you’d think that after the history of “us”– of us as people, we’d learn something from our past–long past and more recent past… obviously, sadly, we are not quick learners…all this thought from the mere encounter with a praying mantis……

I’ll leave my mantis alone, I’ll let him do his thing in my yard and he’ll let me do mine. He won’t eat the wood of my house, he won’t ruin my plants, he won’t bite me or bite off my head, thank goodness…I could kill him, simply removing him from my world as he is expendable, he is just a “bug” you know—but what good would that do….No, we will coexist, we will maintain a healthy respect.

Let us pray for the Syrians….

2 comments on ““come closer my dear….”

  1. Lynda says:

    You raise many good points about co-existence; however, in our world of dualistic thinking, people believe that if a person doesn’t think the same way as they do, then that person is wrong and co-existence is not possible. The Middle East is so complex and yet people are people and each one is a creation of God. My heart breaks for the people in Syria and in Egypt and the other areas of strife. What can I do? I can pray. Pope Francis has called on the world to fast and pray for peace this Saturday. Let’s all pray in solidarity for peace in our world.

    • Oh Lynda, I know that Syria, Egypt, the world at large, are all indeed much more complicated than my musing over my relationship to the praying mantis in my yard—oh that it could be/ would be as simple…and perhaps that’s part of the frustration..my yearning that things could be less complicated…. as it is all so terribly complicated and laced with multiple layers and years upon years of futile turmoil—all for what…..more killing, more regimen control, more innocent lives tossed aside as if all were expendable—it just makes me so sad.
      Those of us of western culture have such a difficult time wrapping our brains around how those of the Middle East, predominately Muslim countries, think and respond to situations that would have us, in the West, responding vastly different. We can’t fantom such responses or actions…
      Pope Francis urging for fasting and prayer, globally, is such a good place to begin, as prayer seems to be the only true solution.
      Listening to the news last night and of our “powers that be” wrangling over the strike or not to strike issue (our oh so wearisome mantra), I was stuck by the same argument over and over…that politicians on both sides of the fence lamenting over “the killing of hundreds of children”…I really think it has been those senseless deaths of hundreds of children that has our leaders so distraught and that they simply don’t know how to handle that…of course who does……or the cynical among us would simply say that the killing of children will simply be the excuse for military action….I don’t want to see us jump in again as the world police—that should not be our role….but it seems it won’t matter what I think, it never does…and perhaps that’s why I muse over it all with a praying mantis……….

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