Spider Watching 1974

Journal entry for
September 8, 1974
I’ve been watching the courtship of a garden spider today. The web is anchored to the deck railing and an azalea bush, the speckled-legged female in the center. A smaller, less brilliant spider of the same species crawls about the web, descending a tight rope wisp toward the central pattern and the object of his affections. The lady in question shakes the web in what is either hostility or excitement causing the male to slink off in discouragement. If at times he is reluctant, she rushes after him, promising menace in every dreadful movement of her claws. This maneuver sends him off at high speed as his respect for her presently outweighs his desire.
She returns to her central chamber, orange eyes ablaze with malice, gaudy back turned away from her suitor’s more sober tweeds. When instinct (no doubt a blind compulsion for something the poor animal has no clear notion of) becomes overpowering, he descends like an iron filing drawn irresistibly to a magnet. He strums the guy wires of her cage, hoping to stir a more kindly attitude with what might be a spider’s equivalent of a guitar or mandolin solo. The beautiful but deadly lady quivers; she flexes arms and legs; she hesitates in response to a subtle compulsion of her own nature. The red haze of anger and greed is tempered by a barely tolerated need to wait for the inexplicably attractive intruder. Then the conflict bursts into action—attack and defense more potent than vague desires. She rushes at him in a fury, and he ignominiously turns tail and shimmies up his escape rope. They go into their respective corners and wait.
At present, the leggy Romeo swoons on the balcony railing, casting looks of fear and desire at his Juliet who manifestly ignores him. Well, he will probably succeed. Whatever passions that pulse in the arachnid flesh will propel him toward both his triumph and doom—for his lady love will, for a shuddering moment, allow her body to be touched; her usual animosity will be suspended as the primal command to mate binds her will. But the urge satisfied, her normal temperament will return with undiminished ferocity and she will slay her sluggish and satiated lover. She will brood over her egg sac while the drained body of the husband-father spins slowly in the wind.

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Published in: on September 9, 2018 at 11:21 am  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Laura, thank you for liking this post. You made my day! Alice

  2. Glad I am not a spider!

  3. Me too, Rose! 🙂

  4. What a delicious and marvelously creative description of the poor male’s demise. Love your viewpoint.

  5. Love hearing your response! Definitely a “Danse Macabre” !! Alice


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