praying * mantis

Livng things I saw on my prayer walk this Sunday morning…

Five-petaled star jasmine – blooming cream, blooming white moonlight out of the corner of my eye – near the mailboxes, and one shrub already in full fruit. 


Jasmine fruit starts out green & hard like a tiny apple, then ripens to into a soft plushy fuchsia-colored plum.


Perched on a jasmine blossom, a green praying mantis curled its abdomen up, up, up like a leaf fragment.  Enormous eyes and legs like two hack-saws.  What a funny insect you are, I thought… and fierce… perching still as hewn jade, its face turned into the distance. 


You look like a staid green violinist, I thought.  Who stole your music?  Now you have two fiddle strings for antennae moving quietly in the silence, lifting traces of jasmine perfume… or not.


Out by the mailboxes, someone left books for others to take.  I took a cloth-bound copy of Angela’s Ashes, dust jacket missing, but overall in good shapeWhen everyone was talking about this memoir a decade ago, I didn’t read it.  I don’t why.  What was I reading then? 


I was still living in New England, no idea what I wished to do except write.  No idea I’d spend the next decade teaching & writing in California, hearing curious statements like: Your velvet hat looks very East Coast. 

This afternoon, I will read Angela’s Ashes after church. 


Thank goodness for peace of mind to open a book & read.

Prayer:  Blessings for the person who placed books out by the mailboxes to share with others. 

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