|So this praying mantis shows
up in my new apartment in Jingdezhen. Along with so
many other insects...like a moth as big as my hand (and
I have a big hand)...and a giant ant-like thing with
wings like dragonfly.
So anyway, I like praying mantises (or is it manti)...they
are graceful...seem curious...and accurate with their
purpose. It's big...flies around like a large grasshopper.
Maybe it will eat all the bugs around here...lot's
of mosquitoes too. Me and my new buddy. For days he'd
pop up in unexpected places (could be a she). On the
bedroom wall, dinning room, next to the living room
window...checking out his territory. No worries....
I want him to be happy.
Then the other night, I couldn't sleep. The humidity/heat
ratio is off the chart. So I'm up at 2 am. Thought
I'd do some surfing on the net. 'What's that crawling
up my leg?'...oh...it's my buddy...'Hey, good to see
you....don't do that...it's a little rattling on the
nerves'. So I set him down on the floor and see him
Time for bed, again. Where did he go? Look...look.
And look again. Can't find him. Need to be careful....
What's that...something stuck to the bottom of my slipper...
It's a mangled praying mantis...aaaahhhhhhhhhh Not dead
yet, but stops moving in my hand....aaaahhhhhh...shit!
Oh well, that whole thing was stupid anyway...
Not the end.
So I go to the studio. There are two students there,
doing cheng hua (blue and white...painting cobalt
on porcelain). I'm a student there as well. Learning
cheng hua, and picking up whatever Chinese I can adsorb.
Plus there is a production potter's wheel freely available.
One student's name is Wu Ming (26 yrs old) and the
other, Wang Chang (18). So Wang Chang says to me,
as I enter the studio, (in broken English): "I
paint this for you". And I look over and see
him point to a page in a book. A photo of an old painting...and
it's a praying mantis with the whole page to it's
And then he shows me a wonderful mantis painted on
the inside of a tea cup....aaaahhhhhh......
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