September 15th, 2010
There is a spider in residence above my milk room door. I’m guessing that in this place the living is relatively easy; there are many, many small flying things in the barn. I’m not sure how the rules of real estate work in the spider world, but this space seems to be top notch — sheltered from the worst of the weather, a span across a large open space with good lighting. Things seem to be working out for this spider; she is fast and fat and her web is a thing of great beauty.
The biggest drawback to this exclusive space is that I walk through that door twice a day and my face goes right through the center of her web. This is not good for either of us. You can probably imagine why I don’t like it much and it is just as easy to imagine that my arrival is a great disappointment to her. She keeps her feelings to herself however, and in the intervening time between milkings, she repairs her masterpiece and continues to wait for what comes. Unfortunately, what comes is me.
Walking into her web twice a day has lost whatever charm it may have had and I have begun to ponder the intelligence of this spider. Why does she, day in and day out, continue to repair and rebuild this catch net in such a vulnerable space? Can’t she connect the dots, so to speak? Can’t she figure out that this piece of real estate is vulnerable to cataclysm every twelve hours? I wonder if her acquisition of this particular place was an impulse buy; after all, it should be pretty obvious to Everyone that I’ve been walking through this door twice a day for 21 years now. Maybe she moved here from out of town? Of course, the more I question her intelligence, the louder the shadow thought becomes: how can I, day in and day out, continue to walk smack through the center of her sticky web? Why haven’t I figured out that this piece of real estate is occupied?
I am relieved to report that, given enough time, she and I seem to be equally educable. The first day that I remembered that I was about to walk through her newly repaired glory, I looked up and found that she had altered the building of her web to include my entrance and exit from the room. It must have been the complicated building calculus that took her so much time. What took me so much time is still an open question.