More Newness

Cross-posted from


The spider is building himself a much more prestigious palace even as I type this. How do they do it? He is barely wider than my littlest finger, including all of his legs. The main thread from which his residence hangs reaches from a wavering evergreen stem to the clothesline; fully 8 feet in distance! I can only assume it was the wind of providence that blew him from the stem while he frantically spun his thread as fast as he could to triumphantly reach the line. I was totally dumbstruck when the whole thing was visible this morning because of the rain. Tiffany would have enviously sought out this glistering necklace, tantalisingly suspended in mid-air. Each bead, purer and clearer than any gem, adorned an ample frame of invisible wire (at least one foot in diameter).

It seems the spectacle I noticed this morning was just the skeletal structure. This afternoon I witnessed this tiny tightrope-walking architect carefully but speedily filling in the spiral body of the web. Using one of his legs, he frequently checked the measurement between one row and the next to ensure their perfect equidistance.

The reason I am mentioning him is partly because I couldn’t possibly keep this spectacle to myself, but also because of the thoughts it provoked. If it hadn’t been raining, I probably would not have seen this fine-spun gossamer. I could easily have walked straight through it, as any blundering human buffoon might have done. In fact I might even have been irritated at the inconvenience of being covered in something clinging and invisible, with no immediate thought for the welfare of its owner. Any human would think it an outrage and possibly seek revenge. The spider would probably just automatically go back to looking for an even better place to start from, perhaps climbing to an even higher stem of evergreen this time?

I don’t ever want to be too precious about my creations. I don’t want to see them as permanent, or as even really belonging to me. Like the spider, if a creation falls apart, I want to be able just start on a new and better one. Also, like the spider, I want to keep my vision wide and my spirit dauntless when creating anything. It’s only us silly humans who do things in any way other than this, isn’t it?

* * *

By evening he was gone, and so was his little jewelled palace; crushed by the rain which had so willingly decorated it in the day. I pictured him climbing stealthily higher under leafy umbrellas to survey a more enviable plot. I looked out for him, but it rained constantly.

The next day it rained. After that it rained. Weather forecasting is probably quite a steady profession here. It seems there is not much call even for differentiation between the various different types of rain.

The rain that took the spider’s home was a tantrum. Yesterday it had mellowed to an endless soft blanket. Now it seems in the throes of a nightmare. There was a brief respite yesterday (I don’t think it made the news), so I opened the door to see what things looked like without water.

A cartoon-style double take followed. Hanging four feet above the ground - four feet from anything in fact - was one crystal drop... completely motionless.

Eventually I stepped forward and saw that the scant foundations of the web still remained, and this jewel hung from a junction in the threads. It stayed there all day, jangling happily when rain jarred the threads, but not falling. It was pure science fiction to see all the drops falling as usual, but only one boldly defying its fate.

Sumangali Morhall
September 2004