This weekend was one which challenged my natural-born pessimism. Often, when the wind blows in from the sea and the leaves march in swirls along the gutters, I see dust rising like a heat haze from the grasses in the park. It sweeps over the road, carried upwards, settling on window ledges, filling my eyes with grit. When the dust comes it is like waking with a bad headache; I usually take it as a grim portent. Yet the dust came this weekend, fine as ground chalk, settling where it would, carrying nothing but the sound of the wind that stirred it.
We had a Federal Election in Australia on Saturday. Many of us were hoping for a change, a sign that maybe there was a chance for a better future. It came with unexpected ease, rich and lush as the slip of home-made elderberry jam from a spoon.
Today Australia has a new Prime Minister who is immediately going to tackle climate change and initiate a plan to withdraw our troops from Iraq. He has further plans to tackle the myriad problems in health and public education. I have further hopes that I almost fear to articulate because they are so dear to me – that a better life may be created for the battlers, the disenfranchised, the homeless, people whose lives are only filled with morsels of light not entire rays.
A change of government is what many of us have waited for, for a long time. When it comes it is akin to the relief felt when a particularly tight-fitting pair of shoes is removed. Your feet may be red-rimmed and swollen but you know that without the shoes they will begin to heal.
Getting something you have waited for, you have wanted, yet almost given up on, leaves you wavering between belief and its absence when it finally arrives. As we leave the house to have celebratory drinks with friends, I pause. A little spider, grey with black legs, spins a web, the pattern like the grooves in an old vinyl record. It is so perfect, so solid, that I imagine lifting it gently at either side and carrying it to my house where I would place it on sheets of handmade paper and then hang it like a talisman above my bed. Tenacious, fragile beauty.
I have a drink. I have a laugh. I discuss the workings of the day, but my mind stays on that spider and her web as she works, weaves and persists; her resolve undisputed; long into the night.
There you go, then! We’d just had the news on television, when my brother-in-law rang from Brisbane. He suggested the 24th November be declared a National Holiday. Maybe that could be your ‘Thanksgiving Day’ … the day you got rid of ‘Little Johnnie’
(Like Blair and Bush … I don’t know how he got in; I never met anyone who voted for them!)
Great news about your new Prime Minister!
I like the way you weave the spider into your observations.
Travelrat – I met a few people who voted for Johnnie and they left a sour taste in my mouth. I agree wholeheartedly, the 24th should be a National Holiday along the lines of Bastille Day or something like that.
Crafty Green – I love spiders. They are so creative and industrious!
Ah, spiders! I love walking into the woods on a winter morning, and seeing (and sometimes photographing) the beautiful webs coated with frost crystals.
(Is it true that no poisonous spiders spin webs?)
Travelrat – I think it is true. I think the poisonous ones are lurking in tight little hiding spots waiting to pounce. ‘Webs coated with frost crystals’ – lovely image.
Oooh no – the highly venomous Red Back spider creates a very large web. But the good thing there is that it supposedly is rarely found away from its web, so the presence of the web is a good advance warning (considering the spider itself is rather small).
Selma, I wrote elsewhere that it felt like “Christmas” on Sunday morning because it was so almost certain by the time we went to bed on Saturday night, that I woke up thinking “It must be, it must be!”
I wanted to thank you earlier for linking to my website – you’re a sweetie!
daoine – you have freaked me out with the info that the Red Back creates a large web. Yikes!
It is also my pleasure to provide a link to your site:( Hear Write Now in my Writing Bits Blogroll.)
I have found a lot of very helpful information on there. Is the piece you wrote about the election on ‘Bella Online’? If not, can you provide the link as I would love to read it? Thanks so much !
It’s supposed to be a very messy, blobby mass of web. And I believe it tends to be found in hidden dark places like disused corners of the garage. I don’t think it could be mistaken for the nice pretty web like the one you described.
Now I have to thank you for commenting on my blog 😉 I didn’t think anyone ever read that!
I wrote just a brief informal response regarding the election of Labor to a polite enquiry on my fiction writing forum :
Congratulations on the sucessful outcome. Now, we need to hope for the US to follow suit. Unfortunately in the US, politics has managed to turn into some kind of game and it’s the people who keep losing.
Spiders and I have a love-hate relationship. As long as they’re outside, or if they’re inside, then they’re in the windows catching the fruit flies that hitch in on the bananas, then we’re ok. I had a truly beautiful orbweb spider on my front porch. She was HUGE and freaked a lot of people out, but I loved her. A windstorm took her away.
However, the minute one gets up close and personal and touches me, things aren’t so good. Lots of screaming, flailing, and spinning in circles… not pretty.
Black Widow spider webs are some of the strongest around, but they’re not orb shaped, they’re kind of chaotic, I think it’s because they’re hunters. I could be wrong. It’s happened before.
Great post, as usual.