Saturday, October 1, 2011


Could there be a game called breeze boarding?  It would be played by spiders, I think, on those rare, special days of the year, when those gossamer parachutes take flight and they float to new grounds to make a new home.

I’ve always thought of those as ‘cobweb days,’ for it’s as if every spinner in the world has been working all night, to fly those impossibly-long strands from the sky, floating straight and true, to new territory.   It’s possibly a southern phenomenon, for I’ve never seen it here.

I’ll stroll outside, with just the first nip in the air and the sky that depthless blue, and something will kindle a “look up” instinct.   A scan of the sky will reveal only more sky, blue and true to the far reaches of the world.

But there HAVE been days . . . days when a little walk outside, a small chore in the yard, a drive through the countryside, will provide a show seldom seen, and a display unfathomable to the mere mind.    A teensy tickle on a shoulder, a brush across the cheek, and you’ll look up far as there is, and as far as light, stretch the strands.    There will be the thinnest silk threads, suspended vertically as high as you can see, floating silently from nowhere to wherever they’re headed.

I remember one such day---the Christmas Eve we had just moved into our new house, and I was outside, just peeking from beneath the patio where I was doing some little task.    Suddenly across the gap between my eyes and the trees across the drive moved a series of silvery lines, like thinner-than-hair platinum wire.   They weren’t THIN top to bottom, for every so often up the great length of them, I could spy a tiny fluff of cottony stuff, riding the winds as high as I could see.  

I walked out and looked up, and the sky was filled with the silver and white, slowly floating with whatever breezes blew them.   Countless flimsy lines brushed my shirt, my face, became stranded in my hair like thin-spun cotton candy.     And it went on for hours, this strange display,with the odd and beautiful threads just flying past, gently making their way onward, toward the West.

We watched that show until our necks ached and our eyes blurred from the blue brightness, and I’ve never forgotten.    I’ll be thinking of something else, as I stroll out to the car, or to the herb-bed, and suddenly, a brush of breeze or a floating leaf will touch or move past, and I’ll look up, hoping for another such performance.

They’re the stuff of THREADFALL, of Mithrail, of Rumplestiltskin’s spindles, and are one of the most magical mysteries.  I’m sure I’ve missed thousands, inside or unheeding as the days go by, and I’d like to see just one more of those---spiderwebs or cottonwood fluff or milkweed puffs, or whatever stuff-of-dreams magic that is


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Rachel:
We were experiencing the gossamer threads with you in this gloriously written account. As you say,it is all rather mysterious where these silky strands emerge from and then, just as quickly as they have arrived, disappear. And, for you, this will always bring back those memories of that magical Christmas Eve. Perfect!

Nail said...

I just love the way you write! I had visions of spiders "Riding the Waves" with Wipeout playing in the background!

Jeanne said...

I can't say that I have ever noticed such a lovely thing as magical as this. I have experienced cobwebs that stick to my hair and face on occasion. Your photo is very magical and I hope I will see that one day. The way you write about these moments really makes my imagination run wild. Thank you Rachel, for the way you tell a story.
Love, Jeanne