Encounter with Mantis

On my way home from an errand, I pulled out from my parking spot, and when I got to a red light, I noticed a praying mantis on the windshield.

A big one.

All the mantises I had ever seen were just little green things.

It seemed quite content where it was. It wasn’t moving. I gently continued driving, not going over 20 mph. It sat on the windshield, observing the world as it passed by.

Mantis: The inspiration for a famous style of martial arts. Someone (or perhaps several people) looked at this insect and grasped something fundamental about movement, about the world, and created a martial art. I knew I should be respectful to this creature.

My city is not very large, nor very busy, so I was able to slowly drive home. As I neared the creek, Mantis turned its head to observe.

“Do you want to get off here?” I wondered.

I pulled up to the curb next to the creek, thinking Mantis would like to get off here and go where there might be lots of forage.

Mantis just sat on the windshield, and swiveled its head to bring its eyes around in my direction.

“I guess we’re going home,” I said to it.

Minutes later, I pulled into the driveway at my home.

Peaceful Style, Second Observational Form: Mantis Touching Clouds

I thought if I unloaded the car, Mantis might get to where it wanted to go, namely, off of the car. But it couldn’t stay there forever — how could I help Mantis off of the car?

As I put things away, passing through my yard, I observed a fallen strip of bark. I thought to myself, “This will do. Mantis can get on here. But how will I get Mantis on board?”

Heading back to the car, I saw grass with a tuft at the end: I pulled it, thinking to coax Mantis gently off of the window, onto the bark.

When I returned, Mantis had not moved at all. Mantis seemed quite content where it was, preferring to wait, and observe. Gently, I laid the bark before it, and pushed the bark towards it. Mantis pulled back very slightly.

Behind Mantis, I brought the grass tuft, and as gently and slowly as possible, coaxed Mantis onto the bark.

Peaceful Style, Seventh Movement Form: Boarding the Bark

After several patient minutes, Mantis was on board. Now to bring it into the yard, where it might be able to feast on any number of insects.

Peaceful Style, Eighth Movement Form: Floating Bark Stance

I walked towards the gate, behind which was a large Japanese maple and an evergreen shrub. Mantis’ attention immediately focused in that area. As I got to the gate, Mantis extended its claws forward, leaning. I knew it wanted to get onto the gate. Would it, could it?

Peaceful Style, Ninth Movement Form: Ascending Heavenly Gate

Gently, I closed the gate, and wished Mantis well.

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