Miss Havisham’s House

July 21, 2010

Spiderwebs everywhere – everywhere – EVERYWHERE. Webs like foam lay on the grass like fairy veils, dotting the lawn every few feet. Webs of string, long horizontal threads and little else, trace through the air from the garden chicken wire to the neighbor’s fence, from tree tops to the lawn, from the wall to the hose reel.

Charlotte webs, those perfect Halloween webs, spiral between spaces on the reel, between plants, between containers and plants, between the rope on the bridge. Veils lay on the brick edgers, flowing into the grass like water caught and transformed. Webs cluster under the bridge, webs spiral between the cattails, thread over the spitting turtle to the anathera on the other side, all perfectly placed to catch the flying or jumping insects that frequent the pond.

Webs on all the windowsills and around the doorjambs. Webs on garden tools untouched for just hours. Webs everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.

And the funny thing is that if you’re not looking for them, you wouldn’t really notice them (except for on those sills and jambs). They are soft and subtle and invisible throughout the day. For just moments at sunrise and again at sunset, they sparkle and twinkle, like silver threads. The spiders are big and hairy, small and elegant, red, black, white and brown. They have long legs, shorts legs and sometimes a combination of the two.

Sometimes the spiders themselves seem to be invisible, hidden in the webbed whirlpool of a hole. Often, they are front and center, hanging in the middle of a spiral, or crouched upon a thread. The webs can be pristine, newly spun, new construction in an older neighbor, or they can be oft-patched, holey and rehabbed way beyond the original structure.

Tonight I cleaned the pond filters to bring the gurgler back to gurgling, get enough of a surge to make the water fall and make the turtle spit instead of drool. I got a fistful of webs in unexpected places and a faceful of threads when I should have been more careful. Those 27 cent goldfish are huge now, and comfortable in their home, knowing they’re the ones who’ve made it past the crisis point, happy in their survival. They swam up to inspect my arms and hands as I looped algae into clumps to remove it from the water. They are courageous – or they know they can swim faster than I could grab, even if I was so inclined.

The grass is like hay, rough on your feet, with hardly a memory of the lush, cool green of just a few weeks ago. The weeds are rampant, happy and flourishing in these prairie conditions that grass is not cultivated to endure.

It is July, hot, scorching, baking and brutal. I hear rain is called for tonight. I sincerely hope we get it.

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