Monday, September 24, 2007

I Know An Old Lady...

"I know an old lady who swallowed a fly;
I don't know why she swallowed a fly!
I guess she'll die!"

A lot of children still read Rose Bonne's story "I Know An Old Lady" -- surely one of the grimmest children's poems in existance. It's been cutesy-fied and cleaned up, of course. But a couple of years ago, my brother presented me with a fabulous gift: the 1961 hardback version that we had in our childhood, a book filled with the strange, abstract and wonderfully grotesque illustrations of Abner Graboff.

I look back on things like this and wonder how they influenced my life today, especially in my appreciation for creatures that so-called normal people find abhorrent.

For instance: I love spiders. Currently, we have a fabulous, gigantic cross spider on the outside of our kitchen window that I could watch for hours. I've dubbed her Shelob for her intimidating size (although she's only about 3" at full stretch and doesn't seem to have a taste for Hobbits).

It kind of breaks my heart to think of all the people who are scared enough by spiders to instantly squash or gas them at first site. These are incredibly beneficial insects...not to mention fascinating, strong and gifted. I think lately there are many times I would like to have eight appendages and eyes. And a pair of venomous fangs. heh.

But I digress. I have carried on to the point of boredom about how great spiders are. For you guys, it's like singing to the choir, right?

I am less loving of house flies, for sure. But that hasn't stopped me from stealing from the nasty pests for my Halloween costume this year; my husband and I are going to a party as the two morphed characters of the classic 1958 movie The Fly: the lab-coat wearing, claw-flashing, fly-headed creature (me, probably), and the fly-bodied man-headed being (hubby).

Believe it or not, I got the idea about a year ago after stripping off my black bra, tossing it toward my husband, and watching it land on and straddle his head like - you guessed it - a pair of fly's eyes.

Inspiration comes from the strangest places, doesn't it?


cyouincourt007 said...

I found your blog via Daves Garden/palmbob website (double digging).Im a palm maniac,plant lover in sunny south Fl,nice pics,happy gardening.Will definitely stop by and peruse your blog.Cyaaaaaaaaaaa
He who plants a garden,plants happiness....

Unknown said...

You definitely are preaching to the choir (me, at least) about spiders! I refrained from putting my storm window back on my leaded glass window frame because a spider had taken up residence there. He was so much fun to watch because when he crawled up into the storm window ledge to hide during the daytime, we could see him perfectly through the panes. :)

So is your hubby going to be recycling the inspirational bra into fly eyes?

Anonymous said...

I try to be very careful of spiders and would never smush one purposely. I always carefully take indoor spiders out. Recently, I came across a rather large spider and it took a bit of nerve to capture it and release it. But I did and I'm so glad.

firefly said...

I often have to defend spiders from my cats. Apparently they are a very tasty snack -- although you aren't going to find me testing *that* assumption.

We get a lot of garden spiders that stay relatively small but like to make webs between the hedge and the driver's side door on the car, so you often wind up wiping web from your eyes when you have to go somewhere.

Another spider made a funnel web on the leaf of a dahlia I kept on the deck all summer, and it was fun to watch -- it got quite a haul of small insects. Today the spider was gone (it's getting colder at night here) and the web had tattered, so I cleared the rest of it and brought the dahlia indoors.

this said...

While I leave the spiders alone I haven't actually gotten around to naming them yet : )