Sunday, August 29, 2010


OF LIGHT AND AIR


Let me say at the outset that I'm not a nice guy right across the board, there are politics, bureaucracies, bony heads etc. to be addressed, after all, so it's more of an elective thing with me; but when it comes to natural beauty-- well, I'm putty in mother nature's hands.

Like this morning, when I was out moving closer to the house a stack of year-old mixed firewood ready to burn this winter, using the wheelbarrow to move the larger pieces and just arm-carrying the smaller pieces to a stack of smallwood nearby. As per my plan, all I had to do was get an armful of smallwood and carry it between the big old oak and an old cedar to get to the smallwood stack. Piece of cake, firewood-movingwise, but with the first armful of smaller pieces I turned to take that route and saw, inches away, strung between the oak and cedar (I must be getting better at hyperception), a perfectly proportioned garden spider web, an armspread wide, glistering gold and red on the sunlit air, with the architect sitting big bright green in the middle, waiting for breakfast.

I'm a sucker for the beauty of spider webs and all the work and deep wisdom it takes to build them, so no way could I barge through that (self-generated!) tour de force. Instead I went around the oak and the stepladder that's on the other side there and stepped over the pile of firewood on the ground by the ladder, a pile that has to be moved also, to reach the smallwood stack and deposit my armful there. Then I went back around pile, ladder and tree to get another armful and another and so on through the morning, the bright green webmaker all the while observing me bending and rising, coming and going around, that large vague shadowshape out there in the vast elsewhere, perhaps grateful in some cosmically spiderial way for the sparing of that artwork from needless destruction, but all the extra work I was doing was a grain in the oceans compared to what that anciently learned architect had wrought of light and air between two trees.

Made my task seem easier, actually, so I was grateful too.

5 comments:

Kalei's Best Friend said...

I love when the sunlight hits a web.. I too will avoid destroying a web as well... Can u imagine destroying something that took so long to create? afterall in the end all that work was about survival...

Kathy said...

A true miracle of nature. Each time I see one I'm reminded of that wonderful children's book, Charlotte's Web.

thesoybean said...

did the prospect of having a spider latch onto your face had you continued upon your intended route factor into your decision to go around the tree at all?

Mary Lou said...

sUCH A guy! And you KNOE he would bite you in a heartbeat if given the chance!fulecl

Robert Brady said...

Nah, I get spiders in the face all the time, they build during the night between the cedar and the car, across the deck, between the oregano and the chestnut, you name it-- I avoid the webs when I can, as a rule, but when I see one in all its sunlit splendor, I have to go as far out of my way as need be. They are our allies, mosquito and gardenbugwise, but it's the architecture that really gets me.