Friday, September 3, 2021

Pondering the thoughts of a Spider

I'm unsure why I never noticed the stunning artistry of spiders to such an obsessive extent before. 

Perhaps because their work is best observed, dew-garlanded, sun-illumined, at dawn, and times I've walked at dawn I've generally been intent upon the sea? 

Perhaps because I've been too busy with other obsessions? 

Now, when my main reflection time is the early morning, before the heat and rush kick in, their silent work, their busy presence, the wonder of their creations, constantly uplifts and fascinates me. 

I wonder why their are not more poems, songs, art work, about the wonder of their intricate webs, how sometimes multitudes of spiders, sometimes spiders of different types, will cover a branch or bush or stand of grass in a palace of (deadly) webs. 

It seems a curious irony that if the web fulfils its main purpose - to obtain food - it will be broken. 

And I wonder at a spiders' thoughts when their constructions are maimed and destroyed by errant flying seeds or leaves, passing animals, or tempestuous weather. Do instincts merely propel them to begin again, or do they grumble to themselves and bemoan their fate? 

Monday, August 30, 2021

Chrysalis (and guarding spider)

My children don't understand my fascination with spiders, and I'm not sure my husband does either. But they're so overlooked, and their artistry is so wonderful, I'm increasingly obsessed. 

This small spider sat guard on an empty chrysalis and I was a little obsessed with how it caught the light. 


mist & weeds

I nearly didn't get up. Our dogs were still at the dog 'retreat' we'd left them at while we went on holidays, and a walk without dogs seemed a bit of a waste, but then I saw the mist. 

I've been eager for awhile for photos in the mist, so hauled myself outside. 

And after I'd crossed town to the rail trail on the far side, I was right. 

Spiders webs in mist, dew-hung, are magical. 


Ephemeral wonder

The interplay of water and light fascinates me, the way the few small drops of condensation catch the sun, glitter, gleam, glisten, sparkle. 

I wonder about how the plants hold to the water, as if capturing them, refusing to let them leave, keeping them as long as they can, their serrations keeping the dew with them as long as possible. 

The changing reflections in the short-lived drops entrance. 

Here and then gone, the ephemeral beauty pierces. 



Sea Treasures

The tide has washed away all the previous days footprints leaving the beach smooth and cool and scattered in sun-caught treasures. 

I lie on the sand for a better look at the dew caught on a small by-the-wind sailor or velella-velella, and wade through shallow water, admiring the shadows cast by the ripples, the ever-changing reflections in the clear water. 

Along the water mark are small shells and tiny blobs of jelly fish, illumined with the gold of the rising sun to look jewel-light. 

Without even my dogs to lunge and pull and stare at me with expectation, its a time of stillness, a time to observe and reflect and remember. 

Once, I had this time so frequently I thought nothing of it. Once, hours spent with myself, wandering shorelines was my normal. 


Sun caught

Rising early, while everyone slept, without even my dogs, I walked the path to the sea to catch the rising sun. 

And, to be honest, it was bland and prosaic. The colour rose over an unclouded, untouched sky, over a still sea. 

But then I saw the dew drops caught upon the spindly bushes lining the path, and lay down on the cool wet sand, and saw the sun rise through the prism of the water drops and the angular tangle of the bare-spindle branches. 

And the change of perspective - a few feet, made it spectacular. 


Found in the Sea

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)

it's always ourselves that we find in the sea

ee. cummings

Days stolen away, we flee to the open sea. A house set amidst trees, a sand path to the shore, a long pale sand beach, clear waters that are crystal colours of joy in the heart of the day and all that is muted solace in the evening. 

On arrival, aching, tired and ragged-edged, having driven the two hours after work, school, drop offs, pick ups, packings, we walk the cool path in moonlight to the ocean. 

And the sea. 

It's been so long since I've spent time by surf and the sound surrounds and renews. The waves are only glistenings in night, but the surf sounds loud and brine is all around. 

Meandering our return, lungs gorged on oceanic air, my wild ones squeal and attack strangers walking the path, thinking them relations arriving later. 

We're at the beach. The unknowns take it in their stride. It's hard to fear four year olds, even ones who think they're raptors. 

Entwined in wave-sound, on the third floor of a honey-gold house of stairs, among the treetops, we talk of ego-death, quarks, Cuchulain and Monkey Magic. 

And the next day we swim. The sky is unclouded blue, the weather balmy, the waves gentle enough for seven year olds, but large enough for tweens. Within the waves shoals of silver fish swim.

Content is the sea. The sea is content. 

Held replenished, I float and then swim under the surface. And the colours are completely satisfying. And I am replete with the sensations of ocean. Of the weight and fluid of water. 

And I realise how I'd been craving the sensations of sand and surf. 

My littlest is wary of the waves, having been dumped in the recent past. I kneel in the wet sand and build a sandcastle with first one small daughter then another. A tiny baby jellyfish, the size of my thumb rushes into, and then out of, our moat. 

The moments are unrecorded. I don't have camera or phone - I came to the beach to swim and to be. 

Later, as the light depart, I bring my camera down and take photos of my youngest in the shallows, learning the sea.  

And it is Joy. 

A perfect day. 

And I relearn how very much I miss the sea. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021


We visited a dam recently, and while the kids and their friends plunged into the winter-cold water, pushed each other off the inflatable flamingo and scrambled around the steeper clay side of an inlet, and the dogs ran with joy, and also plunged into the cold water, I studied the weeds along the shoreline. 

There were many small, sweet flowers that I would like to imagine were wildflowers, but were probably  feral, and the light, sweet hay scent of all the golden grasses was comforting in the air, but I was struck by how restful, yet oddly arresting, the variations in brown of the dead plants were.