I have a love-hate relationship with spiders. I will jump out of my skin if I find a big hairy mother in my bedsheets like anyone else but if I come across a particularly elaborate spider web, I have to give them props.
I admit it here and now that when I see one of these architectural marvels glistening in the morning mist, as is their wont at this time of year, I will find myself speaking directly to the maker. Whoa! That’s some wondrous work.
Wondrous how the pearlescent spider silk almost defies capture by the camera eye but dazzles in oily-slick colours at just the right angle. Wondrous how the tensile strength keeps the web intact in the face of a headwind and earns that stronger-than-steel rep (on a per weight basis).
But what really gets me wondering is the amount of time and effort that goes into the making.
It still leaks a bit but I put it back into service because now that I’ve noticed the labour, I love it.
My compulsion to talk to spiders or caress the battered belly of an old copper kettle is really about noticing the laborious making of a thing, whether it’s by a spider or a metalsmith. It raises questions of how a thing is made, who made it and under what conditions, and by extension what becomes of it at the end of its life and the value of labour. Big inquiry stuff, all from a little noticing.
This why I hang with the babies and the little kids. Not yet glued to a screen, they look at stuff, they notice and they wonder.