broken parabolic



20 April 2010

She's up and eating now, after a week of recovering from the turmoil of getting out of her old skin. She looked so thin last night, so frail, when I dropped the cricket into the tank and sat down to watch, to make sure she was strong enough to hunt. But she didn't falter. She sat motionless as a stone until the prey was within striking distance. Then finally, swift and sure and with ferocious grace, she struck.

The insect was lucky the first two times, having found the remains of Bella's shed skin, still in the burrow, and darting beneath it. But Bella knew the cricket was there, and just waited like a sentry. The cricket always moves eventually, and the motion reverberates through the soil to the listening spider. And she seldom misses. Between her astonishing speed and surprising force, the hunt is a foregone conclusion as soon as the cricket hits the tank.

Thomas Merton once mused that the hawk knew its business. And in much the same way, I sometimes envy this spider, for she knows exactly how to be exactly what she is. She has a clarity of purpose and a certainty of means. She doesn't need to seek those things as we do or agonize over their existence. She senses the tremor in the earth and knows exactly how it ought to be struck. When a new skin is ready and the world is warm and moist enough she knows how to get out of it. No one taught her, and she will teach no one. She knows her business.

My grasp on what I am is tenuous at best, and my knowledge of how to be it is, in my own estimation, comically lacking. But I muddle through. And watch spiders.

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