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mourning Cressida

October 18, 2012

I didn’t know her very long—I think about four months. And at first she was fearsome. I was afraid of her, which I recognized as irrational prejudice. I worked hard at overcoming it, and ultimately, I succeeded. I grew to look forward to seeing her and her handiwork (although that’s not quite the right word). Photographing her repeatedly showed me how beautiful and talented she was.

Eventually, she became indispensable to my idea of my garden.

I gave her a name, because she was a person to me.

I finally thought to find out what to call her scientifically. And that’s when I learned that she would die at first frost.

I don’t think we’ve had first frost yet, but a week ago, it got very cold one night. So cold that I brought inside all of my potager plants. I wanted to bring her inside too—although Spouse would have flipped his lid—but I couldn’t figure out how to make that work.

I never saw her again.

She’s gone, and I miss her.

[Cressida, in happier days]

[a leaf caught in Cressida’s empty web]

 

 

 

She was a nocturnal orb weaver. She was fuzzy brown, with lovely striped legs, and a pattern of 4 dots in a grid on her tummy.

Here’s something I never thought I’d say: spiders make everything better.

 

 

 

 

 

[tiny spider in sparkling web]

+++

Because I cried when I first read it, and I’m crying now, here is Mozart’s eulogy for his pet starling:

A little fool lies here

Whom I held dear–

A starling in the prime

Of his brief time

Whose doom it was to drain

Death’s bitter pain.

Thinking of this, my heart

Is riven apart.

Oh reader! Shed a tear,

You also, here.

He was not naughty, quite,

But gay and bright,

And under all his brag

A foolish wag.

This no one can gainsay

And I will lay

That he is now on high,

And from the sky,

Praises me without pay

In his friendly way.

Yet unaware that death

Has choked his breath,

And thoughtless of the one

Whose rime is thus well done.

~June 14, 1787

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