Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The spider and the worm

It's half past twelve in the afternoon on a Wednesday, and I just saw something move in the window and went over to watch what I thought was a wasp (one of the family that lives in the corner of the window between the pane and the screen) falling down into the spider's web (the spider who lives in the lower part of the same space with a messy web that is neither pretty or symmetrical but is, apparently, effective) again. The wasps never get stuck because they're too big and flap away, but the spider approaches them anyway, which must help encourage the wasps to flap harder and faster. But today it wasn't a wasp. It was an inchworm.

I love inchworms. I always have. There are few bugs I'll let crawl on me. Inchworms are one of them. I got closer to see what would happen, fully expecting the worm to get away. Instead he fell further into the web and was soon approached by the spider, just like the wasps have been. Unfortunately inchworms don't have wings and aren't very big. She immediately began wrapping him. It's over, I rightly assumed. Yet I hoped. Which was a silly thing to do, because why hope for the inchworm and not the spider? Still.

The wrapping continued for a long time, and the inchworm struggled throughout the entire process. I tapped on the window once or twice. Futility. It seemed to go forever. In the meantime, I rationalized. Part of me angrily said, why is the world, the cycle, based on cruelty, on death, on the end of one thing for the continuation of another? The other part of me said, stop personifying; these are things, programmed to work in a certain way for survival; it means nothing. But it's the struggle that got me. It's when the spider got close to the twitching stick of a creature and paralyzed it, and the twitching slowed, but then became fierce again, only to bring on more jabs of paralyzation, to be followed by more slow twitching and the spider pulling the worm close, almost like boxers do when they hug mid fight.

The spider scurried up, rearranged things, pulled the dying worm this way and that way, scurried back down, hugged, stabbed, wrapped. The worm fought on, if slowly. Then she went behind his neck and stabbed him there, and he jerked violently. I could see his mouth moving open and closed. I don't know why I started crying, I just did. I thought, let be little worm, just let it happen. But he could no more do that than I could voluntarily stop breathing.

If life is a spider, I hope I fight. I will. It's natural.

There they hang now in the widow beside me. The worm is in a soft white sheet. The spider is beside him. A twitch here and there. Probably little aftershocks. I can't help thinking the poison was a grace, an anesthetic and that she's staying by his side as a comfort. She's not, but I can't help thinking it. And I can't help looking around the web for other stories. Oh. In the far corner, there's a wasp. He didn't make it. That's the first I've seen. Somehow I don't care. I can't. I'm using all my care for the worm. Maybe later.

All is still now. Even the wasps aren't moving. The thing is done. It's natural. It's no big deal. So why am I still crying?