Friday, 28 March 2014


Through the day they hung in corners, like so many dark and quivering threads. Spindly legs peeked out from beneath the flaking paintwork of the window frame. The colony had grown so large of late that their webs formed a fine grey curtain over the glass. Sat on a tabletop, one foot tucked tight under each knee, I waited for my friends to emerge. In the lowlight of evening I was rewarded as they unfurled from their hiding places and teetered out to greet me. They walked along my hands, picked their way between the downy hairs on my arms and spun between my fingers before I fed them carefully back into their lacework. With feverish obsession I observed how they communicated with each other: tapping out a series of complex vibrations along a network of silver vines.

The spiders had at their disposal an entire Morse code that I long to interpret. For years I studied them in the very same manner that I later came to study people, yet still I came no closer to cracking their secrets.

A small money spider casts its line expertly over to the top of my desk lamp. With my nose level to its web, I wonder how anyone could be afraid of such brilliant creatures.

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