We spent most of yesterday outdoors. Worked in the yard, dipped in the pool, more yard work, took our dinner beside the lake, and just stayed there until 11:00 last night. There were stars. I saw what I assumed to be a satellite moving rapidly and at a great height.
Around dusk the fireflies started coming out of the grass and they put on the best show of the season. As the light faded a lone bird perched on the top of our roof and sang an evening solo.
But the night belonged to a spider and a firefly caught in its web, which was strung strategically from the heat lamp beside me and anchored to a chair. I noticed in the darkness that of all fireflies blinking off and on around us, one seemed to be stationary. It seemed to be swaying slightly from side to side. I turned on my phone light and sure enough the spider was in the process of biting its evening meal.
I was reminded of my first story, written as a college senior, which set me on the road to becoming a writer. I wrote about a wasp and a spider in a battle that I’d witnessed. The wasp attacked and subdued the spider by paralyzing it with a sting and carrying it to its nest where the doomed spider would eventually provide the first meal for the spider’s young hatchlings. Based on that first effort at writing, my professor encouraged me to work at becoming a writer. You’ve heard this story before but last night I was drawn back to that first incident involving a spider.
This time a spider was the victor and her victim was a firefly that continued to flicker as the venom worked its way through its body and rendered it helpless. We watched for half an hour and so did the spider from a few inches away. When at last the light went out, I knew the spider was at its meal and my flashlight verified it.
It was an evening to rest from the day, to enjoy the sights around Goose Lake, and to reflect on the matter-of-fact ways of nature.