Thursday, September 16, 2010

Death by Silk

Not for the faint hearted....

Caspar and I are just returning from a little stroll down the lane and as we approach the steps we notice (well, I notice, - Caspar is blind) that there is some rather nefarious activity going on around the rain spout at the bottom of the steps.

I slip Caspar into the house, grab the camera and come back out to watch the action.

Here is the villain, - a big orange spider who I think might be a Kittalog, or some kind of
 an Orb spider.

You will note that he is busy at his work, - blowing out silk and  reeling out a line with which he intends to secure his victim.  He has already caught one of the frightened grasshopper's front feet making it difficult for him to do anything except squirm and pull, trying to escape.

The spider beats his chest a bit and does a kind of war dance that closely resembles a Haka, I think.

The battles begins in earnest.....terribly one-sided I must admit

My sympathies are with the poor carefree grasshopper who never in a million minutes while he rubbed his legs together, making merry music, dreamed that such a fate awaited him.  Things have reached a stage where even if I were to deprive the spider of lunch 
the grasshopper will not live to sing again.

I leave the big orange spider victorious, and go in to make lunch.  When I look again there is only the husk of the erstwhile idler to remind me of the carefree summer days he whiled away the hours, all the time thinking it was the ant that was putting him to shame when really it was the big orange spider that was planning his downfall.

A sad tale, but there, it's only Nature, red in tooth and claw.

Here endeth the biology lesson for the day, with a Requiem for the Grasshopper.

O thou that swing'st upon the waving ear
of some well-filled oaten beard,
Drunk ev'ry night with a delicious tear
Dropped thee from heav'n, where now th' art reared,

The joys of earth and air are thine entire,
That with thy feet and wings dost hop and fly;
And, when the poppy works, thou dost retire
To thy carved acorn-bed to lie.

Up with the day, the sun thou welcom'st then,
Sport'st in the gilt plats of his beams,
And all these merry days mak'st merry men,
Thyself, and melancholy streams.

The Grasshopper - an excerpt
by Richard Lovelace


Reader Wil said...

Hi Hildred and Charles, it's always a pleasure to come to your blog, because you always create a wonderful post. This time you have given a vivid account of the tragic and cruel death of a carefree insect. Followed by a poem. I love it! You always take much time to write your entries and it's always done with much love and care.

Gerald (Hyde DP) said...

nature in the raw captured for all the world to see.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Hildred -- I loved this photo essay! Nature red in tooth and claw -- I remember that quote, but the grasshopper poem was lovely;

(Raised three boys, have 4 grandsons -- I don't mind spiders and snakes.)

Barb said...

Hi Hildred, My heart beat fast, but I knew what the end would be. There is no story if there is not some tragedy mixed in - I guess nature knows how to weave a good yarn. (And so do you!)