Reflection 312: Wildness 12

August 29, 2012

Copyright © 2012 by Steve Perrin.    [With nine photos.]

Sheet webs, funnel webs, fairy webs, ground webs—whatever we call them, they show up when moisture condenses on their delicate strands, making them suddenly visible where formerly it was easy to overlook them. On the foggy morning of August 3rd, I awoke to find myself surrounded by such webs like so many white handkerchiefs spread on the moss to dry. They called to me, and I was immediately engaged with them, knowing I had to work fast before they’d be gone. These webs are wild, as fireflies and hummingbirds are wild.

Camera at the ready, I stalked them one by one in what turned out to be one of the most difficult photo assignments I ever took on. Their gossamer nature was so flimsy, it simply vanished before my lens. But I knew they were not imaginary, so kept at it until I captured enough pictures to post to my blog.

P1020343 96-webs-1P1020342 96-webs-2P1020325 96-webs-3P1020296 96-webs-4P1020254 96-webs-5P1020303 96-webs-6P1020304 96-webs-7 P1020332 96-webs-8P1020320 96-webs-9No matter how delicate it was, I knew each web was a trap. With the one who laid it stationed in the escape tunnel at the heart of the web—until I made my approach. Then she shot down the tunnel and was gone, placing her handiwork at my mercy. No matter how carefully engineered, every spider web is as wild as wildness gets. It is an instrument for snaring and killing prey.

The webs are not supposed to be visible to those preyed upon. Fog or dew highlight each strand, warning the susceptible away, undoing a long night’s work. But that only adds to the hit-or-miss wild quality of each spider’s endeavor. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Life in every case is a gamble with no winnings guaranteed. Exactly the kind of situation that hooks me into engaging with the improbable facts of life.

Every one of us is vulnerable, all the time—driving on the highway, dreaming in our beds, eating lunch, going on vacation. A bright young woman, a college student, fell while hiking the Precipice Trail in Acadia National Park several weeks ago, fell onto rocks below, and was pronounced dead at the hospital. We seldom realize the risks we are taking in making ourselves happen as we do. Flying insects do not sense the web waiting below them—until condensed moisture gives it away.

It is the wildness around me that I engage and makes me vigilant, giving my life a fine edge, rousing me to consciousness. And beyond that, to posting pictures to my blog about consciousness itself so we can all realize what sorts of situations we’ve gotten ourselves into, and what we can do about it.

Take care. I remain y’r brother and friend, –Steve from the same planet you’re from.

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