Every time I look upon Charles Portis, I marvel at how he's grown. When he arrived, he was no bigger than the remains of his predecessor, the beloved Keats. I haven't exactly kept track of Charles's molts, but I think he's broken out of his exoskeleton as least six times. It's been a wild ride, to say the least, an amazing, wondrous journey.
For Charles, too, I'd imagine.
I'm dead serious, by the way. In having this mantis come into my life, so small he was barely visible to the human eye, in nurturing him through this evolution of feedings, moltings, and moments spent in one another's company...a certain understanding has developed. I know something about him. I don't know much, but it is something. I also allow that I don't know him, that half the time I have no idea what tricks are up his sleeve. But the rest of the time I've developed a certain feel for his instinct and...it's nice to have made the acquaintance of this tiny bit of being.
I do get he's not a dog, a cat, or a person...but that's part of the significance, as I see it. He's not a dog, a cat, or a person. He's just a tiny, inconsequential bug. Zillions of them get smashed on windshields every day.
Having a chance to care for him and marvel over the complexity of his design has elevated the significance of every living thing for me. He is more significant and as a result, so is everything else. Dogs, cats, and people: I love them more than I did before. I marvel over them more than I did before.
This world seems at once more wondrous and comprehensible than it did before.