epic struggles in my windowpane

It was a tiny, but ferocious, battle. Gazing idly out my window this morning, my eye found the panicked flashing of a firefly trapped inside a spider’s web. Normally, fireflies use this luminescent ability to attract mates or prey (and you thought those little lightning bugs were harmless . . . nope, they eat other bugs and would probably take you or me down without a second thought if they were big enough).

Think about that. Imagine a summer dusk in your backyard and you are sitting there with your spouse, maybe a few friends, a gathering of children chasing each other in the yard, and suddenly, little green, red, or orange lights begin sparkling in the grass. What happens next? Yep, those darling little children rush over to find out what is making that wonderful glow. They are attracted to the light same as any other prey.

But back to the struggle. Of course, the spider was waiting high in the corner of its web, out of sight. About one-third the size of the firefly, the spider went about its business. I could not tell if it was biting the firefly or spinning more web around it. The firefly wriggled its spindly legs attempting to free itself from the web, but the web was very sticky. All the while, its green luminescence flashed brightly.

The size of the firefly proved to be too much for the delicate web and it tumbled to the window sill. The spider hunted around the web for a while, seeking what had just been there. I felt kind of bad for the spider. All that hard work. I have an affinity for spiders (which some people find very weird) and have lived peacefully with spiders in my home (which people find even weirder). Years ago, I lived in an apartment with a fly spider. They like to crawl across your ceiling and build their webs high up in corners or near windows to trap flying insects, like flies. We had an agreement. He would stay on the ceiling and I would stay on the floor. It worked. I never had any flies in my apartment.

I don’t know if the spider ever found its prey. Upon closer inspection of the spider’s web, I noted another insect already wrapped and tucked away in the corner. A midnight snack perhaps.

Being at the top of the food chain, most of us cloistered away from the slaughter that becomes our steaks, pork chops, and fried chicken, we rarely witness the forfeit of life for life. What some might find ugly and repellant (and how many of you were rooting for the firefly?), I find fascinating in its representation of the symbiotic relationship of all that exists.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass


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8 Responses to “epic struggles in my windowpane”

  1. sandiwhite Says:

    Hmmm…., I have just returned from my garden where it is dusky-dark. I had cut a handful of chives to go with my supper. Once inside and latching the door, I saw a small green flash zooming away from my herbs and into the darken living room. Sparky, the lightning bug.
    As children we would run through the yards at dusk, capturing lightning bugs to put in a fruit jar with holes punched in the top for air. With these winking “lanterns” we would proceed into the darkest reaches of under the crabapple tree or even behind the smokehouse. Placed on our nightstand as we slept, we could not begin to imagine to horrible carnage and slaughter that took place while we dreamed. In the morning we found very few wholly intact bugs, mostly bits and pieces, body parts no longer needed. So much for fairy lanterns, cannibals more likely. Bbrrr..! Sorry, but I hate spiders, they bite me every chance they get and hide in my shower and parachute on my face while I’m asleep. They all have their place in this world and I admire them for their good points. Just as long as they do their business outside.

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Hi, Sandy — I am sure Sparky enjoys the comfort of your living room 😀

      I remember trapping lightning bugs (and other things) when I was a kid. I sure killed a lot of them!

      You are right about spiders. They belong outside or at least in dark, musty corners of your house where you will never interact with them. They perform a service by keeping other pests away. But, there are very few indoor spiders. Most spiders prefer outside and most prefer the dark. Any spider who is stupid enough to parachute on to your face (or any other body part) deserves the whack you give it.

  2. holessence Says:

    Barbara – I’m pulling a Pooh and think, Think, THINKING about your post. Like Sandi, I’m not a huge fan of spiders. I respect (fear?) them to the degree that I give them a mighty wide berth. YES, I was pulling for the fire fly.

    Please know that I accidentally “killed” my hard drive today and it’s in the “Mother Board Hospital” for repair. Len has graciously loaned me his laptop. I won’t be posting a new post on my blog until I’m “technically squared away.”

    • Barbara Kass Says:

      Sorry to hear about your hard drive, Laurie. It has happened to me. I am, however, a computer freak and the owner of no less than three laptops (all with varying degrees of capability).

      And spiders need to respect humans. We are much too big for them to consider as breakfast. For the most part, in the suburbs at least, we don’t interact with them very often. I do remember when I was young, when my family lived in San Antonio, Texas, during the summer we would sneak out of the house at 3:00 a.m. to run around. We never really went anywhere different than we did during daylight hours. But, I found a spider and a web that was no less than three feet wide and about four feet tall spun between a hedge of bushes and the house. In the middle of it was a spider the size of my 10-year-old fist. Had I not been carrying a flashlight, I would have run right smack into it.

  3. ButterfliesGalore-Kimberly Grady Says:

    Perfect adventure of the spider and the fire fly. I sometimes have my share of a close relationshiop with a few.

    I love the idea of you just sitting there observing another aspect of the world that really could care less about the world of humans and just moveS along at its own pace.


    • Barbara Kass Says:

      That’s a neat way to put it, Kim ===> “observing another aspect of the world that really could care less about the world of humans and just moves along at its own pace” — I often wonder what it is like to be the animals, insects, and bugs of the world and what they must think of this other nutty species screwing things up. I expect to see a fish and bird protest at any moment over the situation in the Gulf. Since in reality that won’t happen, we humans have the responsibility to speak for them. The more we protect other life in the world, the more we protect ourselves. Thank you very much — you have just given me my blog for today.

  4. ButterfliesGalore-Kimberly Grady Says:

    Yes, I think the bugs are Super sized in Georgia…
    Dive Bombers…

  5. sandiwhite Says:

    Kim, the worst have got to be the “no-see’um’s”, those invisible tigers with jaws like a beartrap. You think something has gnawed your arm off and poured acid on the stump, you look and there is nothing there!

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