It's the little things in life that count, and most are free. they're one of the many thrills of my re-lifement (known to some as re-tirement). yesterday's "little thing" that is SO BIG to me: i SAW the praying mantis creating and forming her egg case! i've often been excited to see the finished product-egg case hidden on a branch (usually on our arborvitae bushes), but to actually SEE her foaming and forming this magnificent winter protection around the eggs, utterly AMAZED me.
i often see things that (of course) have been happening all along. but when i was in the "world of cubicles" i missed them; and now just feel SO BLESSED to be seeing them. i usually try to photograph as many as i can. perhaps someday i'll do a little book, "All I [did not] Miss" and include the photos of the early morning dew on the spider webs, the squirrel running across my lawn with a corn cob in its mouth, the swallowtail butterfly hatching from its chrysalis, the sunrise out my window, the hibiscus flower larger than my hand that was only budding the day before. i didn't have to spend a cent to see any of these marvels; i just had to look and see. how great is that!
come spring--usually the first really HOT day--i'll be out staring at that egg case to see the tiny (3/8") baby praying mantises, and am ALWAYS thrilled at the number of them! i follow throughout the summer, amazed at their growth spurts. come late summer, they are huge and that's when they usually watch ME--as i water the garden, invariably one or two usually come out of hiding and keep a close eye on me, sometimes running to a higher leaf to avoid getting wet.
i remember the very first time i saw their egg case. my young son brought a branch home to me, egg case firmly attached and asked what it was. i had no idea, but we looked it up in the encyclopedia (in the days before world wide web and wikipedia)! i've enjoyed these incredible (and beneficial) insects ever since. what JOY!