Saturday, September 01, 2007


I first noticed it this morning. If I sat at my computer and looked out the window to my right into our woods, I saw a very bright, shiny object a couple of feet off the ground. I moved away a few inches and could still see it. It looked like a flashlight was pointed directly at my window. But with the sun out, I could see clearly there was no one standing there holding a flashlight. I called Ed in.

I call Ed in for a variety of things. When we get back from a visit to the grandchildren, I call him in to look at the pictures I took. He always balks. “I was there; I don’t need to see the pictures.” I make him look at them anyway. I call Ed in to kill bugs. I call him in to read him something funny on the Internet. I call him in if I have some sort of accident that immobilizes me, and he helps me get up off the floor. And I call him in for second opinions. This was a second opinion occasion.

“Look at that,” I said as I pointed my finger at the unidentified light. “What do you suppose it is?”

“It looks like maybe a can on the ground that the sun is shining on,” he said. Then he left.

I was determined to find out what it was, so Babe and I went out to the back porch, down the steps, and around the side of the house to look up close. At first I couldn’t find it. I had to keep checking my position against the left part of the office window to determine the object’s location. I turned back and forth, I bent over, kneeled, twisted myself into every imaginable contortion until I finally caught the light. I slowly made my way toward it.

It was some sort of spider web silk thread, very tiny, which had attached itself to a limb. It was a lot tinier than those shiny “icicles” you put on Christmas trees, just a thread, really, with a little sticky sap-like stuff, giving the thread just enough reflective material to shine when the sun reached it.

I couldn’t believe something that little could have made the shining light that caught my eye as I glanced out the window. Just to check, I removed it, then went back and sat at my computer and looked out again. The light was gone. I had solved the mystery.

I think Mother Nature was trying to tell me something today. I tend to take the tiniest, most superficial things and blow them up to gigantic proportions, exacerbating a lifelong tendency towards anxiety. The fact that something so little could reflect a light so big just fascinates me. Yet when I actually identified it up close, it was inconsequential.

I’m trying to get over my fear of flying, which was strong even before 9/11. Our latest trip to Tennessee made me wonder if we should actually consider flying instead of driving on our next trip down. After all, financially it makes sense, considering the 4 motels, road meal expenses, price of gasoline, and time off from work (and boarding Babe) to accommodate 7 days of driving round trip, not to mention wear and tear on the car (which did not cause, but certainly compounded, our recent repair bills). I know logically that flying is safer than road travel. Am I making a big shining can out of a gossamer thread? Perhaps.

Maybe this is one more thing to conquer. After all, I’ve kayaked in the Atlantic Ocean; maybe I’m more courageous than I think!

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