I have had many similar experiences with this type of being. Mantises (Manti?) seem to have souls, intelligence similar to ours.
Thank you for writing a beautiful piece about a beautiful creature!
Please forgive my prejudice; but I when I read your tag line “Appalachian” I was skeptical. You see, I am a snooty resident from a college town in the mid west.
Anyway, pleased to make your acquaintance.