This morning as I approached my office, I noticed in the middle of a wide patch of sidewalk that is flanked by the street on one side and a brick building on the other, with no tree boxes or other plantings for several yards in any direction, a praying mantis stranded in the middle. I wondered how it had gotten there and worried that it would not survive if it was just stuck in a sea of concrete.
I crouched and put out my finger. The praying mantis crawled on to my hand. I did not have time to go all the way back to the park next to the Capitol or to the nearest “island” with trees, but I took it to the nearest tree box, certain that there would be enough mosquitoes for it to eat well. When I placed my hand next to the bush in the tree box and helped the praying mantis move onto the greenery, it first came back onto my hand again. So I talked to it (as if it understood English) and encouraged it to get onto a branch (yes, I was getting some strange looks from passers by at this point). I watched as the praying mantis eventually turned around and started moving into the denser foliage.
With this act, did I make anything in the world better except give myself the joy of interacting with a wonderful being? Does it matter?