I recently had a few encounters with creatures, both in my house and about. I try to get to a camera to capture these instances if I can.
For instance there was the spider in my sink. It spent a lot of time trying to escape, and I checked on its progress on a couple of occasions. Clearly it was not going to make the vertical climb. It stopped, probably exhausted by its failures. Eventually I encouraged it onto the silicon spoon holder that I keep beside my cooking hob – hence the science fiction landscape.
That’s a scary looking creature up close.
Yet, I appreciate the fact that spiders eat other pesky insects, so I never kill them. I release them outside where they can menace the fly population. I’ve lived in houses where I was the designated ‘spider-catcher’. I’m not a fan of touching spiders, but I do prefer to rescue them from terrified humans, and let the spiders get on with productive lives.
And always I’m intrigued with what we designate weird or disgusting or gross. These creatures have a purpose, and when it is at odds with us we have no issue destroying them. And fair enough, I have no love of ants, mosquitoes, or flies, but there are birds and spiders that eat them. I try to force myself to check my innate revulsions and be a grown-up about these things.
Here’s a great example.
I do not like slugs. They creep me out, and if you are a gardener you probably hate them. The other evening in the woods it was slugappaloosa – they were all over the paths, and I was practically doing hopscotch to get around them.
I forced myself to hunker down and take some shots of them. They were quite shy and retracted their horns as soon as they sensed my proximity. Up close, they become something different – strange and kind of alluring. I wondered how they perceived the world, and what my giant presence signalled to them. An otherworldly encounter between two alien beings.
Another swallow flew into my house. I must be on their flight path. On this occasion the door was only open a few moments, and it darted in while I was loading bags into my car. Minnie the dog got quite excited by this one as it flew about a lot more. I thought it was going to do a Houdini and escape through the open door (a rare feat for panicked birds), but it flew at the blocked windows like all the rest.
I caught it and let it go. This time Minnie gave it a great barking farewell – ‘And don’t come back!’
This lovely chap (or chapess) was in a pet shop. A sedate, inquisitive parrot, with intelligent eyes. It was crawling about on top of its huge cage, and apparently the shop attendants weren’t concerned about it trying to leave. When it whistled I repeated the pattern. It paused, and tried a new one, which I then copied. It liked this. I was its echo for a while. Basic communication, but sweet.
Finally an image of Minnie, who ran into shot while I was taking pictures of the wooded path. I liked the patterns of the evening shadows. In the light, and blurred movement, she appears more like a giant feline prowling through the forest.
Or perhaps a wolf.
I’m sure there are moment when she leaps through the undergrowth and in her heart the memories of a wilder age stirs.