Thursday, January 12, 2006

But there's just something wrong
when you just feel like
you're the hardest little button to button

When I was ten years old, I was playing in a quarry with my friend Troy.

The quarry was abandoned and overgrown. There were piles of dirt and rock that were mountains to a fourth grader. The quarry was enclosed on three sides by small cliffs. It was a sublime place for a ten-year-old to play.

I was walking along the top of the cliffs with Troy, and we were talking. Most likely, we were talking about Star Wars, Football Cards or Dirt Bikes, as these were the three most important things in our lives at that time.

As we were talking about Chewbacca, or Walter Payton, we stopped in our tracks.

There, in front of us, was the largest spider either one of us had ever seen.

Its body was roughly the size of a quarter. Its legs stretched out an inch or so beyond that. It was black, and there was an intricate, bright yellow design on its back.

The spider was lurking calmly in the exact center of a large web.

Even though we could have easily dispatched it with a stick, we were intimidated. The spider seemed vaguely menacing and sinister to us.

We stood, awestruck, and just stared at it for a while.

Suddenly, a large grasshopper jumped right into the web, startling us from our reverie.

We couldn't believe what we were seeing.

Our eyes went wide as the grasshopper struggled and became tangled in the web.

The spider clambered across the silky strands to the grasshopper. The agility and alacrity of the spider's movements were startling in contrast to the flailing grasshopper.

In a matter of seconds, the spider had bitten the grasshopper and trussed its entire body in a cocoon of sticky strands. Then the spider returned just as quickly to the center of its web, perhaps to watch us.

The whole episode took less than 15 seconds.

We tore out of there and didn't stop until we were safely at my house. We were freaked out (man).

We avoided that section of the quarry for the rest of the summer.

I have never forgotten that day, and I doubt I ever will...

I wonder if Troy remembers it.

It is strange the way memory works. I remember every detail of that incident as if it happened moments ago, yet other, ostensibly more significant things shimmer and fade.

High desert skies are what I spy
So fly - you've got to wonder why
The stingrays must be fat this year
Moving slow in my lowest gear

I found this in the latest National Geographic:

A captive orca at Marineland park in Niagra Falls, Ontario, has learned a new trick.

He has learned to lure gulls to his pool so he can eat them. He regurgitates fish onto the water's surface, then lies in wait to gulp down the fish-hungry gulls.

The other killer whales at the park have also picked up the trick. The younger brother of the trick's originator was the first to imitate the gull-baiting behavior, and now all five whales at the park try their luck with the unsuspecting birds.


That is so cool, I don't even know where to begin.