Wittier Word Weavers

Writers' Club of Whittier

Flowers Full of Prayers



Flowers are full of prayers in the month of August. On a half-mile walk in an area overgrown with pink silk floss blossoms, wild phlox and butterfly plant, I spied thirty-three mantises praying for prey today. Brown like a twig or green like a leaf, Stagmomantis californica waits upside down, underneath or smack in the center of the flower. At the moment, butterflies frequent the yellow blossoms in this area the most, so that’s where the majority of mantises lurk. I’ve seen them eating fritillaries, bees, skippers and, yes, their own mates. No one seems to be able to explain that seemingly deviant behavior of species survival.

A photographer friend of mine used to find these camouflaged little creatures everywhere and post them to Flickr. There had to be hundreds even thousands of them out there but I never saw any. I had mantis envy. I was determined to learn how to see them.

I figured it was like finding mushrooms. In Iowa, where I was raised, folks enjoy picking and eating wild morels. (You best know exactly what you’re looking for because there are deadly poisonous mushrooms.) The light brown, spongelike fungus blends well with the leaves and earth. Whenever I went mushroom hunting with my parents they’d have bags full while I’d come up empty handed.

In art classes you’re taught to look at the positive and negative space. It’s kind of like that with hunting mantises. Hmm — I wonder if that technique will work for mushrooms?

~Sherry Novak, author of the soon to be released novel The Chick Sexer.



Author: Sherry Novak

Sherry Novak's novel 'The Chick Sexer' will soon be released.

8 thoughts on “Flowers Full of Prayers

  1. Beautiful photos, Sherry, and I enjoyed reading about the mantises. As kids, we used to find them once in a while on our farm. They were always such an interesting surprise because they are so unique-looking.

  2. Wonderful story, fabulous photos. You made me think about prayers/preyers. What a lovely Sunday you provided!

  3. I don’t like bugs but you made me curious about these exotic beings. Plus they’re photogenic.

  4. Dear Sherry The Mantis Envious,
    Now that’s a proper nickname for you SN. Soon, like you, I’m going to have to hunt for mantises and their likes for a quite famous bug project every 9th graders have to complete at my kids’ school. We feel like murderers after each kill. And I’ve heard of fits of sobbing when the kids witnessed their pinned bugs, supposedly dead, reawaken and struggle to get off the display board.
    Can’t wait to read The Chicken Sexer.

  5. Ha! It sounds like a horror movie. I feel sorry for the poor kids and the poor bugs!


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s