Witnessed an intense drama today. Heading up the hill where the trail curves up from the creek into the woods, I stopped at the old bench to catch my breath and have a sip of water. In a patch of sunlight beyond the other side of the trail, I don't know how many dozens of feet from where I sat, in an open area between the trees a few times my height above the ground, I noticed a large dark butterfly fluttering fast but not going anywhere. As I looked at it, my eyes gradually focused on the faint strands of the web in which it was caught. I couldn't quite see the whole thing, but it had to've been a damned big web, because it was a very big butterfly. Amazing, too, how strong a spider's web is, because that big butterfly was putting up a crazed struggle to break free. I got up from the bench and walked down the trail a bit to a point where I could see it better. From that angle, my eye was caught by something a ways above the web-- a little blob that was illuminated bright acid-y, lime-y green by the sun. Hanging on an anchor-line that I couldn't see was the spider. After another minute or two, the butterfly suddenly stopped its flapping and hung suspended at the bottom of the web with its wings spread wide. The spider began to crawl down the anchor-line towards the web, which the butterfly must have felt because it began its violent fluttering and pulling again. This routine of rest, advance, response went on one more time before the spider reached the center of the web. The spider stopped there, the butterfly stopped as well and hung deathly quiet for a while, then suddenly went crazy again and I watched as the spider turned back and began climbing back up the web, back up the anchor-line, back to the spot where I first noticed it. Even when the butterfly stopped and hung for the longest minutes yet, the spider just sat, as if it knew it wasn't yet time. I wondered how many other people would stop to watch something of this sort. How many would even realize what was going on? At a glance, all you'd see was a butterfly fluttering. How many would look long enough to realize it was trapped? If you didn't focus your eyes just right, you wouldn't even see the web and the spider, just the crazily flapping butterfly and the trees of the woods beyond it. I looked up at the spider again and began to think of patience, of how wonderful and powerful a thing it is to have, and how simultaneously horrible and frightening it can be if you're the butterfly trapped and panicking to be free. But perhaps that's anthropomorphizing a bit too much. Finally, when the butterfly went into convulsive flapping so violent that it caused the spider all the way up on its anchor-line to bounce around in the air, I turned away and headed up the trail.
This is not a metaphor for anything. It's just life. Just something I saw.