Friday, 25 September 2009
A Good Year for the Spiders
It's been a joy, in this Indian summer weather, to walk out into the garden first thing in the morning to beathe the crisp, dewy air and feel the early sun... Less of a joy is the aftermath - picking the clinging skeins of spider silk off my face and hair. This has been a bumper year for gossamer and those fine and fascinating creatures (which, incidentally, are not insects) that spin the stuff and do so much to keep the biodiverse life of the garden and countryside ticking over. They also play their part in the mysterious, largely unseen life struggles that go on inside the house. A couple of years ago, the deceptively weedy-seeming daddy longlegs spiders - previously confined to cellars and out-of-the-way places - began to take over, making short work of the much beefier house spiders. (Here's one of them making a neatly wrapped ready meal of a house spider - not for the fainthearted.) This year, however, the house spiders are holding on and making some headway, so the daddy longlegs takeover is at least postponed. I'm glad, as I've always felt the house spider to be a friendly familiar presence, whereas there is something sinister about the daddy longlegs with its inchoate snagging killing machine of a 'web'.
Emily Dickinson appreciated spiders, and she surely didn't have the daddy longlegs in mind when she wrote this...
The spider holds a Silver Ball
In unperceived Hands--
And dancing softly to Himself
He plies from Nought to Nought--
In unsubstantial Trade--
Supplants our Tapestries with His--
In half the period--
An Hour to rear supreme
His Continents of Light--
Then dangle from the Housewife's Broom--