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Saturday, August 20, 2005

Weaving a life

Spiders, to me, are amazing creatures. So varied, so adaptable, so linked with myths and fears and symbolism. I am always fascinated by them. I observe them whenever I have a safe chance to do so. Recently, I spotted one in my back yard, a golden orb spider. The southern U.S. has a large variety of large spiders, but the golden orb spider is impressive, and this one, that made its web in an opening of bushes that line the back fence, is incredibly impressive in size. I watch him from my bedroom window, immobile, perched upside down, on his massive crisscrossed web. Black and orange, he is without a doubt, a formidible sight. That no bird has the audacity to eat him illustrates that point.

But even more recently, I noticed another spider, just outside my bedroom window a few nights back, weaving an incredibly gorgeous orb web. I watched him, shining a flashlight on his body, as he swirled around, weaving, weaving, and finally resting, upside down, in the center of his web. Brillant, and large, I could not stop looking at him, his web at least three feet in diameter. And in the morning, when I woke, I was so excited to get a look at him in the light...only, he was gone, and so was the web. I was saddened. A bat must have eaten him, I thought.

Then, the following night, a bit of movement caught my eye. I shined the light, and there he was, weaving again, an amazing web. Just as big, just as perfect, just as gorgeous as the night before. I thought, Wow! He survived and came back to build again! That is tenacity and resiliance for you!
The following morning I woke, excited to get a look at him in the daylight. Gone again. I thought, oh, boy, all that work, and for what? A bird victim, maybe? But then, maybe not. And I wondered, as I looked out, seeing a few long strands of the web still left, if a bird or a bat got him, why would these very delicate strands attached to the ever growing ivy still be there?

I waited for nightfall.

The moon rose, gorgeous and full, and the obsessive weaver returned, a third night, to weave for his dinner, to weave and weave, working with a precision that is unparalleled in any seamstress shop. When he was done, the perfect web of three feet in diameter complete, he rested, still, upside down in the center.

There were so many things that crossed my mind because of this. Putting them into words seems unnecessary.

I wait to see if he will spin again tonight. I hope to see him every night, spinning, spinning...

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