YOU know it's autumn when the park railings are transformed into 200ft of jewellery, a stretch of gossamer Bulgari that makes you slow your stride on your morning commute.
A full-on, Olympic Opening Ceremony-style display doesn't happen every morning, but there always seems to be one day - the spider's web equivalent of flying ant day - when you notice first one, then two, then, oh my God, look at that, a whole series of silver displays, highlighted by the dew, marching away into the distance, a glistening, silent wonder, almost like a miniature version of sweeping lights on a beachfront promenade, seemingly laid on just for you - www indeed: the webs of your own wide world.
Each quivering creation is a geometric beauty, made even more so by their irregularity. For no web is perfect; nature doesn't do symmetry, a fact reflected in the deliberate asymmetry of the arches seen in Japanese gardens (unlike the asymmetry in your own garden which is more to do with your DIY skills). Yet still the spiders seem to aim for perfection.
They spin and repair, spin and repair, lower and raise themselves like office tower window cleaners, climb and clamber, swing and recover, never giving up, on and on in a display of resolve and commitment that puts us to shame. None of them are in employment, education or training either.
Sometimes people stop to take pictures with their phones, demonstrating that human capacity we have for recognising beauty, so heartening when the news: Birmingham, Syria - can seem so unremitting, enough to make us ashamed of what we are, what we are capable of.
Occasionally, we notice a single stray thread, waving gently in the air, like a long scratch on glass, visible because of dark trees or houses beyond. It's like a hopeful, outstretched arm, seeking purchase, seeking a firm foundation, a new home. The spider's web as metaphor. You can push these things too far. And yet…
You arrive at work, perhaps mention your morning epiphany to a colleague, and then the day begins with its little trials and tasks. In your own way you spin and repair too, climb and clamber as you try and keep the web of work intact as well. The day wends its familiar way. But when it's over, how often do we think we've produced anything quite so splendid as that necklace of the morning?
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