The other day, Margaret Neville was strolling through the garden on her farm in South Africa when something remarkable caught her eye.
There, on a branch in her lavender bush, was an insect unlike any she’d seen before: “I was amazed at first sight,” Neville told The Dodo.
And it’s easy to see why.
The beautiful bug almost looked like a delicate glass sculpture. Her wings of white and green were accentuated with an elegant swirl, while the rest of her body was adorned with tiny, purple flower-like structures.
Neville shared the photo with her friend, Kerri Martinaglia. She was equally impressed.
“When I saw her, I thought she was an exquisite work of art,” Martinaglia told The Dodo.
Neville and Martinaglia came to learn that the insect she’d found was aptly called a “Flower Mantis,” a type of praying mantis perfectly suited to camouflaging themselves in floral settings.
And thanks to that trick, the mantis Neville happened upon was clearly thriving. Before placing her back in the lavender bush, Neville gave her a name: Miss Frilly Pants.
“She has spent the entire month of September living on my lavender,” Neville said. “She is still there now.”
After Martinaglia shared photos of her online, the remarkable mantis has earned plenty of admirers from people stunned to learn such an animal is real. But not all of her new fans are human.
Recently, Neville spotted Miss Frilly in the company of a suitor:
Though mantis relationships are notoriously short-lived (as are, in some cases, the males involved in them), with any luck, this one will result in many more Miss Frillys adding their beauty to the world.
And the prospect of that alone is enough to be grateful for:
I believe in sensitive and kind men. I believe in the mystical men who believe in themselves. I believe in men who seek temperance and peace inside them. I believe in men poets, dreamers, magicians, writers, alchemists, artists, teachers, and angels. I believe in men who like to dance and sing and make life a celebration. I believe in men who embrace their wounded inner child, listen to him and embrace him true. I believe in men who want to heal and help others to heal. I believe in men who refuse to be slaves to their own wound and that despite the pain, they clean it and heal it patiently, with love and courage. I believe in men who come from the stars and remember the power of their wings, the power of their hands and the power of their heart. I believe in men who know of intuition and use it as their compass. I believe in men who share freedom because they are free and do not know another way to live. I believe in the men protective of women’s energy, who know how to read the look of their beloved and who do not intend to change it, simply accompany it wisely on their flight. I believe in full men who don’t need anything from outside because they already know that everything has it inside. I believe in men who make fire when they are cold, that take refuge in water when they are thirsty. I believe in men with truthful eyes, they see themselves, and that’s why they love and respect every creature that exists on earth. I believe in men, perfectly imperfect, because in that imperfection is where they also find their beauty. I believe in sensitive men who know how to receive and give love in balance, who listen and who also speak, those who live and let them live. I believe in men who live sexuality as sacred, because they know that it is a wonderful gift. I believe in men with clear feelings, which are accessible. I believe in men who walk barefoot and speak to the plants. I believe in the tender and wild men at the same time. I believe in the sacred male, and in all the divinity they have stood.
Tonight the Cherokee creation story was briefly shared with me. The Arch is not what many think it is. The Creation story is very long, so I will simply start here, and move forward. Please note: the Creation story varies somewhat from nation to nation, yet the gist of it remains the same. Please be careful to not get caught up in the details of a story, (ie: whether the corn falls from Corn Maidens arms, or from her skirt) … widen perspective, see the similarities, and concentrate upon those things.
Cherokee creation story
The earth is a great island floating in a sea of water, and suspended at each of the four cardinal points by a cord hanging down from the sky vault, which is of solid rock. When the world grows old and worn out, the people will die and the cords will break and let the earth sink down into the ocean, and all will be water again.
“When all was water, the animals were above in Gälûñ’lätï, beyond the arch; but it was very much crowded, and they were wanting more room. They wondered what was below the water, and at last Dâyuni’sï, “Beaver’s Grandchild,” the little Water-beetle, offered to go and see if it could learn. It darted in every direction over the surface of the water, but could find no firm place to rest. Then it dived to the bottom and came up with some soft mud, which began to grow and spread on every side until it became the island which we call the earth. It was afterward fastened to the sky with four cords, but no one remembers who did this.
At first the earth was flat and very soft and wet. The animals were anxious to get down, and sent out different birds to see if it was yet dry, but they found no place to alight and came back again to Gälûñ’lätï. At last it seemed to be time, and they sent out the Buzzard and told him to go and make ready for them. This was the Great Buzzard, the father of all the buzzards we see now. He flew all over the earth, low down near the ground, and it was still soft. When he reached the Cherokee country, he was very tired, and his wings began to flap and strike the ground, and wherever they struck the earth there was a valley, and where they turned up again there was a mountain. When the animals above saw this, they were afraid that the whole world would be mountains, so they called him back, but the Cherokee country remains full of mountains to this day.
When the earth was dry and the animals came down, it was still dark, so they got the sun and set it in a track to go every day across the island from east to west, just overhead. It was too hot this way, and Tsiska’gïlï’, the Red Crawfish, had his shell scorched a bright red, so that his meat was spoiled; and the Cherokee do not eat it. The conjurers put the sun another hand-breadth higher in the air, but it was still too hot. They raised it another time, and another, until it was seven handbreadths high and just under the sky arch. Then it was right, and they left it so. This is why the conjurers call the highest place Gûlkwâ’gine Di’gälûñ’lätiyûñ’, “the seventh height,” because it is seven hand-breadths above the earth. Every day the sun goes along under this arch, and returns at night on the upper side to the starting place.
There is another world under this, and it is like ours in everything–animals, plants, and people–save that the seasons are different. The streams that come down from the mountains are the trails by which we reach this underworld, and the springs at their heads are the doorways by which we enter it, but to do this one must fast and go to water and have one of the underground people for a guide. We know that the seasons in the underworld are different from ours, because the water in the springs is always warmer in winter and cooler in summer than the outer air.
When the animals and plants were first made–we do not know by whom–they were told to watch and keep awake for seven nights, just as young men now fast and keep awake when they pray to their medicine. They tried to do this, and nearly all were awake through the first night, but the next night several dropped off to sleep, and the third night others were asleep, and then others, until, on the seventh night, of all the animals only the owl, the panther, and one or two more were still awake. To these were given the power to see and to go about in the dark, and to make prey of the birds and animals which must sleep at night. Of the trees only the cedar, the pine, the spruce, the holly, and the laurel were awake to the end, and to them it was given to be always green and to be greatest for medicine, but to the others it was said: “Because you have not endured to the end you shall lose your hair every winter.”
Men came after the animals and plants. At first there were only a brother and sister until he struck her with a fish and told her to multiply, and so it was. In seven days a child was born to her, and thereafter every seven days another, and they increased very fast until there was danger that the world could not keep them. Then it was made that a woman should have only one child in a year, and it has been so ever since.“
W. Powell, Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1897-1898, Part I (Washington: 1900), 239-240.
There is much more to this story. I will be posting portions as time goes.
The upholding of creation is every man, woman, and child’s responsibility. The saving of it does NOT fall upon one individuals shoulders. No, it is in the maintenance and caring of that which supports life, the responsibility of ALL.
Changes must be made, by ALL, if the ropes that were spun are to be held in health, which in turn ensures our very survival. This is everyone’s responsibility.
The idea that one person is coming along to “make everything right” is a way of excusing this very bad behavior toward the earth and all life upon it, which we ALL participate in.
Boiled Cedar, Wild Sage, and Lavender flower. I let it simmer for a time and then strained the product. I added the entire pot to my bath water (most likely a bit much) and slept more soundly than I have in awhile.
I will finish harvesting the cedar bows my father gifted me. Next summer I’ll harvest more Lavender flower and store with my Wild Sage specifically for the purpose of creating a soaking concoction for bathing.
I had no idea how good this would feel, or that is was even a thing. I was all about epsom salts, or sea salt, or magnesium flakes before. HA … these do not even come close in comparison as far as a relaxing bath additive.
Thank you Toni, wife to Chief Charlie, Blue Clan. I love you with all my heart! I am bringing you a jar of this juice and some Elderberry syrup also. I will be bringing the gifts I did not bring when I wasn’t able to make it to the elder party too, so whoever shows up is going to get some.
Love, love, love …. today feels like a good day to be happy. ❤️