I found this beautiful Grizzled Mantis on a footbridge in Savannas Preserve State Park in Florida last November. It appeared to be half-squashed or half-crushed. I felt really bad for it. I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I ended up photographing it and leaving it more or less in the condition I found it; I left it to a fate I wouldn’t know. They say insects most likely don’t feel or experience pain as humans do. “Putting something out of its misery” is more of an “higher order” concept, and while its fun to anthropomorphize arthropods, it’s often better to take a less self-centered approach. Which is not to say I did the right thing. As much as letting it die on its own didn’t change anything, killing it would not have changed much in the larger scheme either. In the end I didn’t want to do it, so I didn’t. I’m not sure what that says about me; it doesn’t seem like anything good to be honest. I guess the sense I am most left with is one of sadness; it had been a long while (adolescence) since I had seen a mantis in the wild.
I am sharing this particular photo because in a matter less grave than life or death, but “crushing” in its own way, I lost a good chunk of writing today to a vagary of the WordPress system. I had left the tab of a WordPress post draft in my browser open for about 24 hrs. Since then my session had expired and when I began writing this morning, I had to log in again. I’m not sure what exactly the technical problem was, but after I had written for a while, I clicked the “Save Draft” button. An error screen came up saying that the request didn’t work or that it had failed. Below that line of text was a hyperlink that said “Try again.” I clicked it – to my chagrin. The worst part is, as soon as I did it, I remembered this was the wrong thing to do. It had happened before, and I had lost my writing just like this time. The last revision saved was from the day before; the new text was sent to oblivion. I searched the browser cache in vain. I tried to hit the back button, but the time for that was at the “Try again” screen – do not click “Try again.” I do believe clicking the back button works if you do it without proceeding through the error page. I’m sure WordPress is aware of this. I wish the “Try again” page that comes up was a little more robust in its warning about continuing with the process. I am very frustrated and somewhat daunted at the task of having to rewrite this story. I think remembering the unfortunate mantis has given me some perspective to move forward, but it still is rankling me.
So here’s to moving forward. Here’s to better writing, here’s to a safer WordPress.
Here’s to healthy mantises.