”Strange perfumes, long/lost rooms they’re perfect in their own way” Laurie Anderson
There is a wide windowsill by the east-facing window in the nook where my writing-art-making desk is. On it is an odd assortment of things; papers, photographs, various pieces of wood and sticks from my forays into the forest, dishes filled with stones, an empty green soda glass with a pretty, hand drawn label, three of my doll-puppet people, boxes of pastels, a bag of colored pencils, some candles. Covering most of the randomness is a fine network of cobwebs, running from one end to the other, with concentrations of webbing in the bottom corners of the window frame itself. I sit at this desk every day, I have seen these cobwebs for many weeks now. Is it strange of me to let them be, along with the dust accumulated on the sill, like a kind of art installation created by 8 legged creatures in the night, with nothing better to do? Perhaps. Perhaps the best thing would be to simply admit it is nearly time for Spring Cleaning, and methodically, matter-of-factly, duster and rag in hand, simply take care of it, wipe away all traces of the spiders’ nightly handiwork, all their intricate weavings done away with in the name of cleanliness? I know that this will happen. Their art installation is not permanent, after all. One day soon I will take up rag and spray, and tidy the place up, knowing even as I do so that they will return another night, while everyone is asleep, to build yet more artistic creations with silk and spit, those amazingly small weavers of life’s intricate webs.
Many years ago I lived in a nice, friendly town in mid-Oregon, called Corvallis. It was the first time I had lived in the Northwest, and that first year was simply magical. I remember walking in the various parks, most of them near a river which ran throughout the town. The trees and forest there was amazing, such huge, tall fir, spruce, and sequoia trees grew all around. It would rain (nearly every day through the winter and spring) and then stop, and I would go out walking along the paths. Every so often, I would walk up to (and nearly into, sometimes) a spiderweb which was suspended between the trees on either side of the path. In the center of it was, of course, a nicely fat, black and brown spider, the weaver who had spun her web, and now patiently waited for lunch or dinner to come her way. These spiderwebs were beautiful, large, and would often have rain droplets covering them, sparkling and glimmering in the post-rain light. And it was a good thing, because the rain drops were the main way I could see the spiderwebs as I walked. A couple of times when I was daydreaming, I walked right into them, frightening both spider and me! They were a minor miracle of nature, a transitory, elegant, artistic reminder of Life’s beauty and fragility. And there were so many of them, thousands of spiders and webs in those woods. Really amazing and also quite humbling, to realize that though you may be a human and a whole lot bigger than a spider, when it comes down to it, you are vastly outdone by untold numbers of creatures who actually own that part of the world.
Forgive me, Dear Readers, but today I am musing randomly. Maybe because it is Leap Day, that magical day which only appears once every four years upon our earth. What a strange thing, to have a whole day, 24 hours or so, which only exists every four years. What about those people who are born on a Leap Day? What about the other three years, when their birthday doesn’t appear on the calendar? What do they do, don’t they feel left out of life then? I think Leap Day and Leap Year is kind of fascinating to think about, even the name is interesting and provocative. It reminds us of the illusion of Time and how it can flex and stretch, or constrict and spiral around, depending on a whole lot of things, but mostly on our perception. Leap Year didn’t always exist, of course. Some clever fellow thought it up somewhere along the line of our common history, probably around the time when science was becoming popular, as opposed to having God and the Church running the world and everybody’s lives. I don’t know and today I am too lazy to look it up on Wikipedia. I’ll let those of you who care do that! Today, it is enough to simply guess and muse about days that only come once every four years, blue moons that only appear every once-in-a-long-while, spiderwebs which are spun mysteriously by night beings with many legs and incredible eyes, and how amazingly life comes back each spring. No matter what we humans figure out, no matter how much destruction and violence and stupidity we wreak on each other and on the earth, Life is stronger. Life returns every spring, faithfully. The bulbs grow up and out of the ground, the flowers open, the buds come on the trees, the birds fly back to the cold lands they left the previous autumn, they lay eggs, they have babies. Spiders continue to spin, the earth continues to spin, we humans also continue to spin, round and round in an endless, crazy, happy-sad-sane-insane- hating-loving spiral dance, without knowing why or for how long. We only know that we must do it, we are compelled to dance just like the birds are compelled to sing. The sun shines. It never, ever stops shining. The stars remain, steadfast. In an uncertain, ever-changing world full of angst, we can count on that. There is something real and unchanging. Hallelujah.
p.s. Apparently there are several of us here in blogging land who are thinking about this peculiar once-every-four-years day today. check out:
- Happy ahm… Leap Day/Year! (myetchasketchlife.wordpress.com)
- Today Is Leap Day (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)