Just the other day, I walked out of my house to find a praying mantis sitting on the hood of my car. I almost missed seeing him, his sleek self trying his best to blend in with the silver paint. I wondered why he chose to perch there. I wondered why I assumed it was a “he.” I wondered if he knew that I was on my way to teach a yoga class, and I couldn’t help but wonder if he was planning to come with me. So, I said, “You know I am getting ready to go and you might not like the breeze that comes with driving down the busy roads to the studio. You may want to hop down now.”
It didn’t seem to faze that praying mantis. It just sat there on my hood, even despite the gentle prod I gave it with my finger. So, I started the car and slowly backed down the driveway.
I paused the car a few times in the driveway to offer it a chance to jump down and choose another place to sit, but it didn’t budge in the least. In fact, as I put the car in drive and headed up the street, that little praying mantis simply spread its wings in the increasing breeze of our forward momentum. I rolled the window down at the next stop sign to once again encourage it to hop off as I knew we were soon leaving our snuggly little neighborhood. Could it hear me? Did it understand the imminent danger in heading out onto busier streets? It didn’t seem to care the way I thought it should.
So, we kept on going. As we reached 25 mph, its legs shook a bit and its wings ruffled along its back, but that praying mantis looked amazingly calm…happy (if I dare claim to know what a happy versus angry praying mantis looks like).
The road became more curvy and bustled with cars and trucks zooming past in the opposite direction. I was now up to 45 mph and I thought surely it couldn’t hold on, surely it would be scooped up in the wind and carried off into somebody’s grill. Oh, no. Now I was responsible for its fate!
Alas, we arrived at the studio. Can you believe that little guy was still there?! Just sitting on my hood as if nothing had happened. Me? — I was wings ruffled, head spinning, utterly exhausted from the experience. That praying mantis remained perched contentedly on the hood of my car, apparently quite happy with the entire turn of events. I asked if this was its intended destination, as if it had somewhere to go and had it arrived on time. It just sat there, not so much as flinching as I bent over, just inches from its small, curious face.
Then, it occurred to me.
Perhaps this praying mantis really didn’t need a ride. Perhaps it really had nowhere to go. Perhaps that praying mantis was just there to remind me that the journey – the quivering in your legs, the wind in your wings — is your real purpose and arriving at your destination is secondary.
The praying mantis smiled…and as I walked off towards the studio, I was almost certain I heard him say, “WOW — what an awesome ride!”
Enjoy the ride!