Garden Gems – Frail and meek present themselves in unexpected nooks of time and place

We are constantly visited in our little corner of the county, and each bit of fauna has its own story. I found the tree frog in the bottom of a flower pot that was holding a bag of decorative stones. I removed the bag of stones and there was the frog sitting in a pool of water. I thought he was some forgotten ornament at first and then, when I realized he was real, figured he was dead. But he climbed onto my hand and after quite a while decided to wander onto a waiting leaf.

The dragon flies seem to be very intuitive and trusting. This one kept returning to the dried stalk and posing. One night, at my parents cottage, I could hear a loud flapping, in the dark, on the porch where I slept. I knew there was some large insect trying to get out into the night air, and freedom, but couldn’t seem to find him. When I got up in the morning to watch the sunrise and then return to my bed, a huge dragon fly was lying right in the centre of the bed. He climbed onto my hand and let me release him outdoors.

I had been packing up some outdoor mosquito netting last summer, and just as I tossed the folded net to the ground I quickly retrieved it again, as I caught sight of this beautiful praying mantis. He too was very co-operative about having his picture taken. I’m sure I appeared as curious to him as he did to me. Last weekend as I salvaged the vegetable garden from a couple of very heavy downpours mixed with days of baking sun, which had turned the soil to an arid brick-like texture, I noticed a baby one of these. It reminded me that, earlier in the year, while taking a bus from Toronto because the train I was supposed to be on had derailed, I was seated beside a lovely woman, about my age, and the conversation turned towards nature. She told me the praying mantis was a gift and a blessing. These beings seem like glorious pieces of living jewellery that catch my eye and are more difficult to possess than an emerald or sapphire brooch might be.

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