Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Smaller Magic

I took a walk this evening, and on the way back I saw beautiful things.

A rainbow, brilliant, lurid, like a heavy brushstroke across the gray sky, with a secondary bow, fainter outside the arc like an accidental smudge.

Clouds, bulbous and creamy, dipping down from the sky like giant fingers dimpling the air below.

Quieter enchantments after the storm has torn the sky with dazzling forked light.

But that was on my way home, with my heart already thrilled by a beauty closer and smaller. Granted, I do see beauty in the strangest things.

The sun hung low in the sky as I walked along the bayou. A lone sunflower stood beside the path like an unabashed eye staring down passers-by like myself. I stopped to admire it, stooped to put my eyes on its level. The sunlight shone warm and golden on the tall grass, rising off of it in a scent of hay and honey. I shaded my eyes and looked out over the gleam of tall blades and slender stalks gilded by the sun’s midas touch.

And everywhere I caught more brilliant glints, like diamonds stretched to silken strands, woven amongst the grass. And everywhere, suspended in the grass, were small movements, scurryings, dippings and dancings. I stood up and leaned closer, examining the minute perfection of a spider’s web, with the spider still working furiously, rebuilding after the storm. I took a few more steps gazing across the grass into the sunlight, as it sparkled and waved over more webs, and more, and more.

Everywhere, as far as I could see, dime-sized, narrow, pale green spiders were spinning webs no bigger than dessert plates between the grass stalks. Everything glimmered and trembled, shaking in the slightest breeze, and shuddering under the lightest little eight-legged touch. For a quarter of a mile I walked, and never saw an end of those webs and weavers, glistening in the light of the setting sun.

I’ve never seen so many. It reminded me of fireflies in the evenings back home, when they’d light the brush and the trees like strands of sparkling lights. But this was a warmer, homier magic. A labor of survival made beautiful in the minute and fragile symmetry of every close-woven web.


And humbling.

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