Sep 26, 2007

Nature Abhors A Vacuum

That's why it always uses a broom, instead. And sometimes one of those Swiffer Sweeper things. And it always has a dustpan handy, one of those kinds with a little matching brush.

Aah, beating a dead horse. Nothing quite like it to get the blood pumping, eh?

First, some flowers. I'm sure you guys would rather see that than another train photo.

Now then--more Nature.

Meno's post about finding a spider in her sun room led me to remembering a certain writing spider I photographed some ten years ago at my old house, and about how I first learned about them.

The 'spider' you see to the lower left of the bigger spider's leg is in fact the bigger spider's freshly shed skin. She was a good four inches across, easily the largest writing spider I'd ever seen, and she was utterly gorgeous, clean and bright in her new clothes.

I remember my first encounter with a writing spider. I was wandering around in the overgrown barnyard of my grandfather's home in Mississippi; my brother and father were somewhere, and my grandfather was behind me. I might have been all of six or seven, and the dead weeds rustled and crackled as we pushed our way through. I came upon a writing spider who had spread her web between tall stalks of some weed or other, and I couldn't help but notice the scribble of white webbing that she rested above. My grandfather leaned over and said "That's a writing spider. See? He's so proud of his web he wrote his name on it." I can still see him pointing out the squiggly thick white line down the middle and him saying "Henry" in his clear, heavy preacher's voice. I didn't get the joke for grandfather's first name was Henry. I tried for hours to make letters form out of that random scrawl of thick silk. *S*

I can't look at a writing spider now without thinking of that wonderful old man, without hearing that voice just over my shoulder. He died just a few years later. His was the first casket I ever carried as one of six pall bearers, the first time I ever felt like an adult man. I was performing a man's task. It was his death taught me that Life, no matter how grand or pathetic or mediocre, ends sooner or later. It's just Nature.

I can still hear his voice.


Jean said...

ha... the tone of the first paragraph is so completely opposite of the tone at the end... you do that well.

The voice of a loved one... music for the soul :)

Scott from Oregon said...

Awesome picture...

With words and pixels...

Rayne said...

I had no idea they were called writing spiders. That's cool.

meno said...

Four inches across? *Shudder* I wish i were not such a bloody idiot about spiders, because they really are cool.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

That is cool, but I did pull my feet up and think ehhh.... they're great, as long as they are outside and want to stay there.

I like dew on webs. That's pretty.

Aren't grandparents great?

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Irrelephant said...

Thank you, Jean. *smile* I love to listen to Garrison Keillor do the Lake Woebegone stories for the wonderful way he leads from one point to another, drawing you along like you're walking down a street.

Thanx, Scott! I figured I needed to exercise my creative lenswork a little bit.

Rayne, I don't know their 'official' taxonomy, but I've always heard them called that. Fits beautifully, far as I can tell. *s*

Meno, we're all bloody idiots about something. *hug* It's nothing to be ashamed of unless you let it run your life.

Scarlett, it's not an uncommon feeling. *wink* And dew on webs...oh. Beautiful stuff indeed. If you get a chance, click my Flickr link on the left there, I've got some photos of pollen on honeybees and dew on a katydid there. *S*

And I cannot tell you how much I miss my dad and my grandpa (his father.) My maternal grandfather died before I was born, never got to meet him, one of my few regrets in life.