Sunday, July 26, 2009

FIELD NOTES: She never returned...

Sunday morning musings

…after I last wrote about Charlotte, her web became erratic and haphazard for a few days, her construction too feeble to withstand ordinary rain and wind. Like her namesake in the book, I wondered if she had produced her magnum opus and then proceeded to die. As if to say farewell to my apprehensive daughter who had been in New York City for a few days, the web reappeared towards the end of the week and then, no more. She was gone. For the first few nights, I kept flicking the front light on and off and then I stopped, got out of the habit. Without having to think, without purpose or planning, we could now use the new front door. A burden had been lifted. But my oldest son was the first to say out loud: “I miss her.” Isn’t it just that way, when we have taken the time to perhaps not wholly love, but certainly appreciate, a web of life? Oh that I should be a burden missed! Quite the compliment…

Sunday, July 12, 2009

FIELD NOTES: The eye is sometimes the lens best suited for the subject…


Sunday morning musing

…and so it goes for spiders in the night. Charlotte has become our nightly fascination and has even found converts among us. I discovered my daughter (who is ‘grossed out’ by bugs of any sort) trying to best me with her camera shots, but joined me in stronger appreciation for professional nature photographers instead. She also called out the window one afternoon when I drove into the driveway that it was alright to use the front door because the web had blown away. I sensed that we both felt some sort of remorseful gladness. We don’t really ‘like’ spiders; small spiders tend to get squished when they appear in the bed or bath, but Charlotte is BIG. She is big in more ways than one. Initial suggestions were made to perhaps relocate her so we could actually use our new front door, but the nightly lantern, the gutter and close proximity to the garden seems to be an ideal encampment. Wanting to spread appreciation, the teacher in me called the little neighbor boy over to see The Great Web that had stayed intact for most of Wednesday. He was properly fascinated and returned later with a friend…(Ah, a taste of the old days!...B.C. - before computers - when every kid was an entrepreneur by ‘charging admission’ to anything that constituted a ‘show’). So as we continue to use the garage or back door, kudos to Charlotte for her tour de force; it was difficult to use the front entry on a summer’s night anyway because the screen door is usually loaded with moths, Japanese beetles and the like. I counted twelve ‘packets’ in her web last night and watched as more unfortunates careened into the sticky trap for the love of lamplight…Love is blind?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

FIELD NOTES: America's got talent....





Red, White & Blue

...so much so that I found myself entertained late in the evening with choreographed bungee jumping, intuitive engineering and delicate balance, not on the television, but across my front door. Determined to have my new front door painted bright red for Independence Day (my favorite front door color), I had locked the storm door with the top screen down to let the paint dry overnight and, in the light of the hanging lantern, discovered at work a sizable spider…more sizable than one usually cares to have inside the home. To be repulsed or impressed, that was the question, but lucky for me deep fascination trumped instant rejection and I was treated to a free show. My fifth grade teacher gave me the wonderful gift of E.B. White in Charlotte’s Web…insight and judicious writing all in one place…and now this night, some forty years later, I could reap a benefit. The spider’s dramatic downward dives caught my heartbeat, popped my eyes and canted my head. She moved with such complete confidence, determined and adept in weaving her own safety net, that she took my amazement to some level of envy. She instantly responded to a vibration and from the center of the web, speedily sidled out on a spoke and shrink-wrapped a meal for herself in a matter of seconds. As I prepared myself and the house for sleep, I kept checking on Charlotte and saw that her web spanned the entire width of the door. I left the front light on for her and the new American flag I had hung to go with the new door. In the morning, the flag was briskly flapping in a beautifully crisp breeze…at last, a break in the weeks of daily rain storms…but alas, the web was pathetically disheveled like the morning after a wild party. But, come nightfall, Charlotte climbed down from the gutter and saw opportunity…again. I texted my younger son to use the basement entry instead. In the morning, I found a sticky note on the kitchen table from my daughter that read “There is a big ass spider in the front door!” and she explained she had to turn the light off because it “grossed” her out. Her younger brother on the other hand, just walked through the front door as usual. But, Charlotte keeps working, after all, she has to make a living…and this is America …and America’s got talent…naturally. Today’s sticky note is from my oldest son: “Spider made a new web. Don’t destroy it this time.”

video