Spider Flying

Rodney Safstrom, August 2011

Shh, shh please. This is at hard as it gets. Don’t talk to me. I cannot think when you talk.

I have climbed up the trunk of this tree, it is really scary. There are big spiders looking out, I am scared of them. I have to creep along in the narrow crevices, my feet all tucked in. My mum also told me about the birds and their steely beaks. So I sneak along looking all around all the time. And looking up. I have to choose the best branch. Phew I got there. Up I go carefully underneath the branch, careful not to slip. Lucky I have eight legs. I have to look for the best leaf hanging out in the wind and find the best branch and the best twig to get there. Wow, it took me all day. I sure am hungry.

You see last time I tried this, the first time actually because I am just growing up, I let go too soon and swung crashing by my thread into the trunk of the tree. I need a stronger wind to carry me to that next tree. Focus now, the past is gone. I learnt about the wind. Up I go, branch, twig, find the best leaf. Wait, I watch in the crevice of the leaf and twig. It is dangerous out there in the sun. I will wait for the evening breeze just after the birds have gone to bed.

Ahh, the wind feels just right now. I rush to the very edge of the leaf and quickly attach my thread. Now watch, wait, the wind is softening, just right. I lift myself up, feel the wind. Up on tippee toes. Wait for a gust, feel my body lifting, let go last leg, floating, curling, drifting, letting web out, sailing, watching. Ooh, grab the leaf and quickly attach my thread. I did it! Now next one. Hey wait, I am hungry. My web sack is empty. Shh, hush, be still, creep ever so slowly, then I pounce, grab insect, yumm, sucking. Yumm. Quick stop gloating, hide, waiting. I am feeling my web sack filling.

OK let’s go, wind is swirling. I creep out to edge of leaf, wait, watching. Shadow, I rush back to shelter. Look, peep out, it is safe now. Edge of leaf, lift body, tippee toes, body lifting, let go, floating, web spinning. Ooh landing, attach my thread quickly, hiding watching. Ahh, look, I creep out slowly, rushing, grabbing, baby aphid safe in my front legs, ooh so yummy in my tummy. Quick, quick, hiding, I see big beak watching. Now, ready, back along my web I go not getting my legs all mixed up, its tricky having eight legs, scary in the dark, All my toes gripping, swaying. Ahh made it. Now back to the first leaf, dangling, holding on tightly, made it, quick, hiding.

Tomorrow I will do it again. Do you like my web, glistening in the moonlight? And in the morning covered in dew, golden reflections in the sunlight rays. I love being a spider and I am growing up so clever. Shh it’s my bedtime now. I am soo happy I can fly.

This story was inspired by my friend Will Varey telling me of his experience watching a spider at his property on Hesterbrook near Bridgetown in Western Australia.