The first year I was only able to observe the growth from newborn to adult in the bushes outside our sun room, never wanting to risk going outside to view them for fear they would relocate. But the second year a young mantis crawled onto my finger as I gripped the deck railing on my back porch. And every few days he would make an appearance and crawl onto my hand again. Finally he was an adult, brilliant and green. He didn’t crawl onto my hand, but it did seem that he showed up to say one last goodbye. Of course, that proved a bit too dramatic; I saw him quite a bit over the next few months.
I feel very fortunate that my kids will get to grow up with this kind of experience. Appreciation for the world cannot be taught any better than by watching the world do what it does. This year we watched a nest of four mockingbird eggs hatch and grow up and leave the nest. Maybe next year we’ll find the woodpecker’s lair.