Dead Pray Mantis. Or is it?
I really hate the winter. Cold feet and hands, drafty house, heating vents that blow dry air around (and dog hair too, no matter how well* or often* I clean). My personal countdown has begun to December 21 when the days start getting longer again. Little by little. *Not very.
To commemorate my state of seasonal mourning, I’ve painted this little praying mantis that I came across on the sidewalk, who obviously had much more to grieve about, as this was also the end of its life. No matter how strong and robust by the end of the summer, they will all die. I brought it inside and set it up to start the first painting a few hours later. About 15 minutes in, it moved! Though half its body was destroyed, it wagged its head and wavered its antennae. During the hour or so it took to finish the painting, it moved both of its front legs many times and appeared to be watching me. I couldn’t tell if it was half-alive or these were just involuntary postmortem twitches of the nervous system. Do mantises have nervous systems? Dunno. It was definitely dead by the time I finished the next 2 paintings a week later.
I have always loved mantises, although I recently learned they’re related to cockroaches, so I don’t think I’ll ever look at them the same again. I guess I should just be happy that cockroaches aren’t also predatory, as this would escalate the pangs of terror when I see them, ever since I found one crawling on my face* while sleeping years ago. (*occurred in my former marital home and bed and this incident, I can appreciate now, was clearly foreshadowing of future events, cretin little brown-black running thing.)
Anyway, here’s to the end of summer 😦 , praying mantises, and the beauty of a dying thing that’s as graceful as it is creepy. Speaking of which, yesterday I also found a dying black widow in a cardboard box I was getting ready to ship some artwork in (must have accidentally smashed it), very close to my hand. SO GLAD I have a standing agreement with spiders: I don’t kill, they don’t bite. Maybe I’ll paint the dead black widow next, if it’s really dead.