Terrible beauty

White Crab Spider (Misumena vatia) eating a Small White Butterfly (Pieris rapae)

Crab spiders don’t build webs to catch their prey. Instead, they rely on camouflage and ambush. Cunning, courageous and fierce, they pounce and tackle quite big prey, stun them with digestive juices and then sit and dissolve it.

I was on a leisurely stroll at dusk last night and spotted this on a lavender bush. I dashed home for my camera, got partway back and realised I forgot to take my SD card. The light was fading and I was running out of time.

The barman from my local, who was outside having a fag, encouraged me to go back for it when I told him what I was about to photograph. So I ran back home, up two flights of stairs, grabbed the card and ran back to the scene of the ambush.

While I saw taking some photos, the woman whose garden it was in came out to see why I was poking through her lavender border.

On the way back home, hot and sweaty, I stopped in the pub to show Michael my photo and thank him for encouraging me.  🙂

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Honesty, saying ‘Good-bye’ and letting go

This evening Steve and I are going to a very special party we’ve been invited to by a friend who was initially a work colleague of mine.  I worked alongside her for six months when she ran a community gardening project in a charity I work for.  After she left, we became Facebook friends and she brought her mother, who is a quilter, to my Open Studio in 2013.  At first, I was a bit surprised to be asked to her gathering, which has the feel of a very special birthday or an engagement party.   I found out a few days ago that my friend has a terminal illness and is bringing a circle of people together for a celebration of life, love, friendship and community.  She knows is going to have a great funeral and doesn’t want to miss it, so is throwing this party.

This is such a courageous, heart-filled and generous act.  I’ve been thinking about it constantly for the past several days and not only about my friend, who is around my age.

I have been thinking about how rare it is to consciously say ‘Good-bye’ to someone.

I have been thinking about how our society fears and hides from not only the fact of death, but how we fear and hide from our feelings about death.

I have been thinking about how I take for granted that ‘Next Christmas we will . . . . .’ and ‘In May we’re going to . . . . . . ‘ and ‘Sometime in the next five years I’ll make that piece of art which has been glowing and growing deep inside of my Soul’.

I have been thinking about my mortality, and I hope that I will be able to accept and celebrate it with as much honesty and grace as my friend.

Yes, part of being truly alive is making plans for the future, but the gift I am remembering in the midst of this is that part of being truly alive is to ‘live our dying’.  It is good to remember that we are each somewhere on the circle of life, connected to one another by fragile threads and held in a state of grace.

On  Christmas eve morning, there was a Red Admiral butterfly sunning herself above our bathroom window. An unseasonal reminder of transformation and the never ending cycle of birth-death-rebirth.

new life

new life1

Late autumn honesty in a walled garden of plants beautifully dying

new life2

The amaryllis bulb that I thought would never begin to grow, did