Friday, July 23, 2010

Never More Than 6 Feet Away From a Spider

The Photograph

The Story

It's been re-established recently that I like creep crawlies. Not all of them, but most of them. Worms: not a fan. Except the Mopane worms in Botswana. Those gave me colors to aspire to. Tasty bit of protein too... I had an exchange with a friend from Ireland recently regarding her daughter's bravery at the zoo. Python petting. Reminded me of the last time I played with snakes: Belize 2008. Boas curling round my neck. A few days ago Matt discovered I have a "pet" lizard living between the patio pots. I found it immobile and unresponsive with a dead wasp on it's back on my way to take out the recycling. I got really sad, then mad because I thought the neighbors cat's killed it. They tend to bring me...presents. I was too verklempt to move it from the walkway, so Matt went out to remove it, and my lil buddy startled Matt quite a lot by being alive, turning tail & scampering off. Turns out, he was either bee-stunned, or really really enjoying a sun bath.

Yesterday I realized that, usually, I have a system for when a fly is in the house. I open the door, say "go out". They fly out the door. Usually. I know...I grew up with a fly swatter, but don't have as much of a problem here now, & it's less mess when they listen. Yesterday, I found myself understanding the guys who thought that fleas spontaneously generated from piles of dirty rags. I had masses of flies to talk into leaving the room and no idea where they erupted from. In hind sight, although the trash was only a few days old and not smelly, somewhere in it's bowels Mrs. Fly must have laid bothersome her brood. Sorry Mrs., but your kids wouldn't listen, and the once clean dish towel made a handy swatter...

Which brings us to spiders. When I was little, I had a spider (I assumed it was always the same one) who seemed to live in the corner of the ceiling in my room. I called him (again, assumption) Wolfy. Original, I know...I thought it was a wolf spider. Really, I have no idea. But I never worried about it falling on my head while I slept because he was always up there in the morning. Sometimes he'd wander off elsewhere, but the presence of fuzzy dime sized Wolfy gave me a reliable constant. I'd worry about him if I didn't see him for a few days. There were others around our country abode. Particularly in the barn, where evidence usually came in the form of delicate wafting webs stretched like sun catchers across the lofty heights above towering bails of alfalfa. Such lovely by products from such creepy crawly, unappreciated little wonders.

The first web pictured is from a few years back camping in the redwoods at Big Basin. It caught the light so perfectly in the foggy forest that I stopped my trek to look around for the fairy tale creatures that must live nearby. The second lacy web is from a perfect frozen moment in the Netherlands. Amstelveen by De Poel, specifically. The whole day limned in ice, everything rendered with the cold crisp echo of a surrealist painting. Look around...are you even 6 feet away from a spider?

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