When I first began this post, it was because my queendom was so blessed with so many mantis queens. They had thrived despite neglect and carried on the order. They really didn’t need me, they just needed vegetation and bugs to eat.
This has been a summer of rebuilding. A summer of oddities. A summer of awakening. There were garden spaces to be reclaimed and others to be decommissioned. It’s definitely been months of seriously hard work. In the past ten days alone, I have loaded, unloaded and placed over 1,500 pounds of reclaimed concrete pavers. The weather as so many of us have noted has not been midwestern typical, but I will take the California dreaming any day. It’s been marvelous.
So tonight, as I sat on the deck post dinner it was hard not to notice that my beautiful farm cats, Munchkin and Fletcher were in a bit of a dither. At first, I chalked it up to kitty hi jinks. Munchkin had reappeared after a couple week hiatus. Florida? Costa Rica? She never tells. But Fletcher wouldn’t let it go, so now my curiosity is up: is there a baby bird in the vegetation, someone wounded?
Below my deck is a nice stand of grasses. They have thrived despite being in too much shade and have added a punctuation point to the path to the deck. I love them. And so apparently does the mantis. As I approached the clump of grass in question, the one to which Fletcher was taking exception, I noticed it was quivering. I was expecting a baby bird, many of which I had rescued and put beyond farm cat reach in the past.
I was surprised. A four inch mantis queen had captured a full grown katydid. Katydid not yet dead did not in any way deter the queen from beginning her meal. It was astonishing. I attempted with two different cameras to capture the moment. Neither one, the good camera erroring out and the iPhone 5 focusing on too much green, could capture it. And just as I was admitting defeat, I realized the queen was focused on me.
Her beautiful diamond shaped head and sparkling eyes were looking at me as if to say, “You looking at me?” It was a Taxi Driver moment. And I just put the cameras away and slinked back onto the deck.
Life is good. Long live the Queen.