It’s spider season. All around the garden webs are strung across ivies, roses, everything, including the resolutely still-green tomato plant. In the centre of each is one of those fat mottled garden variety spiders. It’s like a convention.
A couple of the more adventurous and acrobatic have even made the leap from one side of the garden to the other, spinning long tightropes way above head height.
When I was young, spiders were the one creature I couldn’t bear. In the end, I decided that it was because they have altogether too many legs. It’s difficult enough keeping two of the things under control. The spider’s facility with eight limbs produced the childish conclusion that they must be a great deal smarter than anyone was giving credit for. And once you start seeing an intelligence behind those very non-mammalian faces…urgh.
Still, the spiders and I came to an accommodation a long time ago. Web placement is a negotiation based on usage: the common routes around the garden are quickly cleared by humans blundering into low-level webs. The spiders build them the next time slightly tucked away to one side. They still get their flies and I still get green tomatoes.
I have a suspicion that they look at me and think that, for a creature with only two legs, some of my behaviour betrays signs of something approaching intelligent life. Let them wonder.