24 March 2007

Eerie Midnight Magic

Tonight I realized that, even if we do have our usual March or early April cold snap, spring has really sprung. How do I know this? I met my first spider silk of the year just now in the quiet moments around midnight. And though walking through the web of these messengers of the Goddess is reputed to be bad luck I couldn't have been more pleased to encounter the web. It wasn't an actual web, just one of those long strings of silk they use to travel, but it's a sticky testament to the arrival of Grandmother Spider in my backyard. I greeted her and apologized for disturbing her line. I hope she was finished with it before it walked right through it.

I have great respect for spiders in general; they usually prey on the more pest-like of their insect cousins. But I must admit to smashing one yesterday, not because I wanted to, but because it was the only way to calm a kid spooked by the big black hairy thing crawling around the bathtub. So, again, I must beg forgiveness from Grandmother Spider. As I walked the dogs tonight it didn't even occur to me to watch out for webs. But I should have considered it; there are enough signs of spring to give me a clue. It's strange how the singing of the frogs and crickets can somehow make the night seem that much more silent and still. I guess it's because during the winter there's no sound at all, nothing for comparison. But in the late night hours of the spring the high pitched, but not shrill, song of the night is a magical and hypnotic echo heard through the budding trees.

And it's even more beautiful the longer one listens, it goes on and on without pause, without any change in tone, without any change in volume. Occasionally a frisky frog will make an odd croak but the overall song does not change. And it's staggered perfectly, there are no audible pauses for breath, there are no false notes, no off key singing. Yet it's a simple song with few notes, but delicately interlaced so as to seem complex. The more one listens, the more one wants to listen. Tonight the sky was overcast so the little light from the waxing moon was not visible, but the springtime song of my local frogs and crickets seems to light up the night.

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