sketchbook: Monday 19 November 2012

Mon 19 Nov 2012 ca. 11:50 a.m. my bedroom

The vermilion leaves of the Japanese maple have turned to russet—the color of dried blood. I look down on it from above. The handrails of our balcony angle into its branches, shiny with rain. The boards of the deck are also rain-glazed, the falling drops dimpling their sheen.

Above this little T-canyon of townhouses the sky, usually so expressive, is a misty, almost featureless gray. Just over the roof of Bentley Mews I can see a faint ragged strip of Vancouver, veiled by this sky that is falling everywhere as rain.

Down below, a cat waits at the neighbors’ door. Ten centimeters from my nose, on the far side of the windowpane, a plump spider hangs upside-down in her web spun over the lower half of the glass. Her egg-shaped abdomen is wood-hued, like a fir-cone, with delicate white spots forming a crucifix on it. Her legs, multiply hinged, are striped brown, white, and amber. In the past days I’ve seen some tiny victims in her web, but they’ve been cleared away. The web is pristine and barely visible. The spider is at the center, motionless as a stick or a stone, industrious but also economical of her effort. Each leg rests on a different strand of web. When she moves or works she’s like a harpist plucking the wires of her instrument.

For sound there is the cawing of crows—

Now the spider mobilizes: jiggling, suspended, alert: a tiny fly has run into the intersection of 2 strands maybe 6 cm from her, and she has rotated to face down the radial strand. And quickly she darts to seize her prey—so fast for one who was so still. Faster than I can see she has taken the fly to her mouth and quickly returned to her post, apparently sucking the juice from her victim now rather than saving it for later. She turns herself around and resumes her former position and stillness. The fly is still at her mouth: she caresses it with her mandibles.

Share this post—why not?
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on Facebook
Share on Reddit
Email this to someone
This entry was posted in prose sketches and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *