I grew up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and we had a lot of bugs. I’m not a huge fan of insects; I dislike mosquitos, ticks and flees, and I moved out of an apartment once when I discovered cockroaches the size of my thumb were already renting the place. But growing up, there was one kind that I admired: the praying mantis. Every year they would pop up on our windows, screens and sometimes in the house. I’d come home from school and one would be waiting for me on the window sill. She would watch me as I walked by, and I would stop and look at her and she would cock her head to the side like a my dog does when she’s trying to understand. I looked forward to seeing her everyday somewhere new, and sometimes I would carry her around the yard to check out the trees and birds. There was something mysterious and wise and frightening about her, like she knew something I didn’t and was trying to communicate it to me. The way she followed me with those bulbous, all-knowing eyes – prehistoric and alien at the same time. And then one day, I would come home from school and she and her friends would be gone, like they all decided no one was listening and it was time to move on. I haven’t seen a praying mantis in years. In fact, the last time I remember seeing a praying mantis was high school. Where did they all go and what was she trying to tell me? Today, I drew a picture of a praying mantis from a photo on The Quantum Biologist blog. The author talks about the praying mantis and how they can take down animals three times their size and there is a video of a mantis attacking a snake! All this time, I thought my praying mantis was my special communion with nature, my unique pet, when it is quite possible she was sizing me up for her afternoon snack.