The Mardi Gras Spider

When I found this Green Lynx spider (Peucetia viridans) lurking among the goldenrod and liatris last September, I was most struck by the combination of traditional Mardi Gras colors: purple, green, and gold.

Between a certain pandemic and the deep freeze afflicting Texas and Louisiana this year, traditional Mardi Gras celebrations have been in short supply. But this is the day: King Cakes are being shared, beads are hanging from car mirrors, and gumbo pots are simmering. Les bons temps may not be rolling, but they’re still creeping along — just like this bit of natural celebration.

 

Comments always are welcome.

A Hidden Christmas

Along a ranch road in Gillespie County, Texas

Farmer, philosopher, poet, curmudgeon: Wendell Berry understands the land as well as anyone, and the necessities of human life better than most. When I found these live oaks and Ashe junipers topped with a just slightly gaudy Christmas star, Berry’s words about Christmas in the country and the hidden nature of holiness came to mind. Their essential modesty seems to suit the day.

Remembering that it happened once,
We cannot turn away the thought
As we go out, cold, to our barns
Toward the long night’s end, that we
Ourselves are living in the world
It happened in when it first happened;
That we ourselves, opening a stall
(A latch thrown open countless times
Before), might find them breathing there,
Foreknown: the Child bedded in straw,
The mother kneeling over Him,
The husband standing in belief
He scarcely can believe, in light
That lights them from no source we see,
An April morning’s light, the air
Around them joyful as a choir.
We stand with one hand on the door,
Looking into another world
That is this world, the pale daylight
Coming just as before, our chores
To do, the cattle all awake,
Our own frozen breath hanging
In front of us; and we are here
As we have never been before,
Sighted as not before, our place
Holy, although we knew it not.

 

Comments always are welcome.