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9:27 p.m. - Monday, Oct. 13, 2003
I Have a Thing For Praying Mantises
Yesterday was warm and sunny. My older sister and my father came over to help me take down the tomato garden -- the cages and the fence -- which was actually quite nice of them, since it was a lot of work. First, though, we picked the last of the raspberries. My sister found a praying mantis on the bushes, the same one, I think, that Pa and I kept finding all summer while picking berries. I said, "See if he wants a raspberry," so she held a berry out to him, and he reached toward it with his praying arms. We all started laughing, it was so funny to see him respond like that, without hesitation. But he didn't really want the raspberry. He ignored it to climb up on my sister's hand. "He just wants a ride," I said, and she lifted up her hand so that the gigantic praying mantis looked like the lord of the raspberry patch surveying his domain. Then she said, "That's enough, you freeloader," and lowered him down to the raspberry vine, where he calmly walked off her hand onto a leaf.

Later, we found what looked to me like a praying mantis egg sac on the fence we were taking down. I put it aside and later, after they had gone, I made a little shelter out of the box my L'air du temps eau de toilette had come in, hung the egg sac inside it and tied it up in a tree. I hope it is praying mantises in there.

When all the work was done, I went and got the pie my sister had brought, and we had a pie picnic there beside the garden. The weather was still so warm that bees were buzzing all around us. A sudden gust of wind shook the top of the tall elm at the edge of the yard, and hundreds of yellow leaves went whirling into the air, dancing against the clear blue sky, and tumbling down around us like confetti.

And then they went home. I watered the fruit trees and then took a nap. And then later . . . but I have to go to bed now.


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