My Goodreads Quotes

Allison’s quotes

"Don't you think it's rather nice to think that we're in a book that God's writing? If I were writing a book, I might make mistakes. But God knows how to make the story end just right--in the way that's best for us."
Do you really believe that, Mother?" Peter asked quietly.
Yes," she said, "I do believe it--almost always--except when I'm so sad that I can't believe anything. But even when I don't believe it, I know it's true--and I try to believe it."— E. Nesbit

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Praying Mantis and the Spider

Look, Mom!  Two posts in one week.


This evening, I was sitting at my desk, working away at my current work-in-progress.  It is my second entry for Rooglewood Press's Five Enchanted Roses, and it is giving me no little grief.  It's about a magic herb that grows in mountain caves and sends people to sleep... except that the herb never quite found its way into the plot, and seeing as it was the key Sleeping Beauty element, my retelling is progressing slowly.  So far I have a castle-full of people exacting halfhearted political revenge and not much else.  So I was reasonably open to the possibility of being completely distracted from it.

My desk, for the record, is planted firmly in front of a window so I can look outside at the twenty-foot myrtle tree in our garden while I work.  But why this exposition is necessary... well, you'll see.

So my heroine had the missing prince locked in her root cellar, and she was trying to explain precisely why her family kidnapped him.  And I was bored.  And as I glanced out the window, I noticed movement in the myrtle tree.  Something large was half-hidden by the last deep-pink blossoms... and for all that I searched, I could not see what it was!

My heroine and the missing prince continued squabbling endearingly, but my attention was caught up in the mysterious movement in the myrtle tree.  As the hero and heroine resolved their argument, something half-fell out of the myrtle tree and writhed, dangling, in its branches.

And I couldn't see what it was, because I was twenty feet away.  So, naturally, I abandoned my heroine and the missing prince to their argument and fetched a pair of binoculars.  I gazed out the window... and it was a praying mantis!

Like such
Unlike this noble specimen, however, this praying mantis was half-tangled in a spider's web.  Suspended over a treacherous twenty-foot gulf, the praying mantis struggled and struggled, but he could not free himself from the web!

It was heartbreaking.  So naturally, I called for my dad to come see it.  What followed were several minutes of him fiddling with the binoculars and me saying, "If you look at the tallest branch and go down a bit, then to the right some, then sort of up, around that one flower, you should be able to see it."  I shan't recount it all here.  Suffice it to say that he couldn't see it.

Dissatisfied, I returned to my work-in-progress and managed a good minute and a half of solid work before my mom came in.  I screeched for her to come see it, and she, mercifully, could interpret my directions and actually saw the the praying mantis's struggle.

"But I don't know how to save it!" I said.  "It's right at the top of the tree."

"Well, we have a wiffle ball in the garage," she said.

"But what if I kill it?"

My sister pragmatically said, "It'll die anyway if you don't."

Well.  We can't have that, now, can we?

Armed with a wiffle ball and a camera, I sallied forth to my side yard in the dying light.  I noticed that the myrtle tree was a lot taller than it was from my window.  Definitely more like thirty feet.

And it was crawling with big, brown, hairy spiders.

The myrtle tree in my side yard
I should mention something at this point.  I'm funny about spiders.  Like-- near phobic funny about spiders.  So I was very unwilling to approach the myrtle tree.

But the praying mantis was in much worse condition than I!  Who knew how long his struggles could last before the spiders feasted upon him?

So I worked up my courage and threw the wiffle ball.

This is a wiffle ball, by the way.
It missed the tree completely.  Dodging spiderwebs, I fetched it back and threw it again.

It missed.  Again.  But-- and this is important!-- it missed on the other side of the tree!  That, dear reader, is progress.

The next attempt wasn't quite so good.  The wiffle ball got stuck in the tree.

The wiffle ball

A close-up of the wiffle ball.  (No, I don't have shaky hands.)
It was getting dark. So I appealed to a higher authority and went to get my mom.

I have an awesome mom.  She came out with the branch cutter.

It's pretty much a machete on a stick.  It does not, to the best of my knowledge, glow blue in the presence of orcs.  But hey, still works.
She reached vainly for the web locking the praying mantis in place.  But alas, my petite mother was too short to reach it.  So she went to get a chair, because she's great that way.

We returned ready to rescue.  But the praying mantis was gone.

I have no idea what happened to it.  I can only assume that our rescue attempts provided so much entertainment for the spiders that it gave the praying mantis time to escape.  I don't know that we can exactly take credit.  We knocked the wiffle ball down and came back inside.

I didn't finish my work-in-progress.  Instead, I wrote this down for you.

 And then I finished my work-in-progress*, because some things you just have to do.

*Not finished-finished.  Just finished the part I was working on today.


Sarah said...

I'm glad to hear the praying mantis escaped. Also, I totallly relate to your fear of spiders. I have the same thing . . . and the basement of my new house is full of them. :P Thankfully, they're mostly the daddy-longlegs-ish variety, which don't make me as nervous, but still . . .

ghost ryter said...

Whew, I'm glad the praying mantis got away! It is too bad that you weren't able to free it may have been one of those talking, magical creatures that grants you wishes when you save its life....

Jemma Tainsh said...

I hope the mantis got away. Spiders really freak me out, I always dream about them though. (love your new background!)

Psalms w guitar said...

You should write this short story about this with the liberty to think of this praying mantis as the Dragon or some such, and the spider as something else. In other words use this circumstance to create a fictional story

Allison Ruvidich said...

@Sarah- Spiders. ASDLFJAFDLJ. *hides under desk*

@Ghosty- HAHA! I LOVE this! I mean, surely it owes me three wishes now, right??

@Jemma- Thank you! Spiders are so terrible, aren't they?

@Psalms w guitar- I really should... Turn this into inspiration! : )