Yesterday I had a very quiet birthday (not a sober anniversary). The housemate ill with bronchitis and rain falling steadily, the Internet crashing. I made more no-knead bread with a slightly different mix of flours and planted out seedlings of borage, garlic chives and coriander whenever the rain paused for a few minutes. When the household is back to normal we can have cake and celebrations.
When anything goes wrong with the housemate, I have trouble with anxiety and go around mumbling to myself and anticipating the worst possible outcomes. The small dog Chub who has OCD follows me around yipping nervously and absorbing all my negative energies. Or is that a human projection? The Great Dane is out in the big wide wide world of the backyard digging up molehills in his he-dog cheerful manner. The other small dog Chloe, a caramel cream puff with some Pomeranian cuteness, is lying on the sofa dozing contentedly.
Baby house sparrows are learning to fly off the low wall of the verandah, chirping loudly with excitement. The landlord came around to tell me that local traffic inspectors are conspiring against him and won’t accept bribes from him for minor parking misdemeanours. I tried not to look disapproving. More bread is rising slowly and stickily in a ceramic bowl covered with soft tea towels and I shall give this loaf to my neighbour, if it comes out looking good. In the cleft of the tipuana tree, an orb spider is repairing her web.
From Clarice Lispector:
How can I explain it to you: suddenly the whole world that was me shriveled up in fatigue, I could no longer bear on my shoulders—what?—and was succumbing to a tension that I didn’t know had always been mine. They were already starting, and I still didn’t realize it, the first signs inside me of a landslide, of underground limestone caves, collapsing beneath the weight of stratified archeological layers—and the weight of the first landslide was bringing down the corners of my mouth, making my arms fall. What was happening to me? I’ll never understand but there must be someone who understands. And it’s inside myself that I must create that someone who will understand.
To repair a web, so fragile and easily ruptured, not unlike the human psyche, so vulnerable Scientists have found that orb spiders often decorate their webs and this may be a way of preventing further damage.
When they repaired or rebuilt their webs, the spiders increased their decorating activity following heavy damage but not mild damage, he reported.
So he thinks the spiders deliberately make their webs more visible to passing animals that might unintentionally walk into them.
“The spiders tactically use the decorations,” he said, “distinguishing between normal web damage that happens every day (when the prey insects hit the web) and unusual damage by unwanted visitors.”
The delicacy of repair work and decorations as visible scarring — these are the places I have broken, this is my visible emblem of past damage, this is what you need to see beyond beauty or damage.