02 July, 2010

The Web of Life_____www

One morning in June, after rain, when the early light fell, just so, the Ungardener captured this picture for me. Now how can I use this image? Can’t spin out the spider story. I didn’t meet her.

At the top are the consumers, devourers, users. Us and the cats. Top cat looking down on the rest of the world? But most feral cats have a short, nasty life. Chocolat found us. 

From Florida to Tex-Mex, are some of the 'most marginalized' people in the USA, already struggling to recover from the hurricanes Katrina and Rita, now reeling in the throes of the oil-spill. 'Some of these rural counties have lost half of their former residents. Farmers or gardeners there have literally left jars of their family's heirloom vegetable seeds in sheds and cupboards to rot or slowly die' From Gary Nabhan gulfcoastfoods

In the middle is the ‘or be eaten’ layer. The ones who give something back. Herds of cattle. Flocks of sheep, or birds. Shoals of fish. A sparrow-called-spirulina, now SpirulinO as he has grown a black bib. Does NOT like to be photographed, but here you can see the stub of wing, towards the camera. And the trailing feathers on the far wing. He can kangaroo hop around, but a moment out of the cage, and Chocolat will have him, as he cannot fly.

At the bottom of the ladder, the insects. The small, easily ignored and dismissed, life. Brenton Blue butterfly. The top layer wanted to build a housing development in Brenton-on Sea. Exactly in the patch where the last of the butterflies were hanging on. The middle layer fought back. For a reserve, to allow those butterflies to survive. Now volunteers maintain the right plants for those Brenton  Blues.

This is NOT the Brenton blue
but a similar and unidentified butterfly in our garden

And we, the animals, depend on the plants for our survival. If global warming and drought destroy plant life … we are gone too. See on this restio – olifantsriet – how seeds grow up the stalk in a spiral?

Animals and plants, we all rest on the living rock. A strange expression. And yet. Our last house was built between boulders and protea bushes. As this one is built beside the trees. Then, we told the builder, NOT TO DAMAGE THE ROCKS. Came one day to find a bloody patch on the boulder by the front door. What happened?! Oh, had to knock a bit off so the scaffolding would stand level. If you love rock/stone as I do, then you will ‘see’ that bloody patch idea. Table Mountain Sandstone with a freshly exposed surface showing rusty red. It took many months to weather back to its quieter sand colour.

And that patch was where Sparkles the cat, landed on his hip, when two Persian brothers (cats I hasten to add) threw him off the roof. The vet removed the broken end of the hip joint. Explained a cat can replace that joint with fibrous tissue. Next day Sparkles was home, and climbed straight out of his cat-door. Broken hip, me? Bit stiff maybe, but otherwise fine thanks.         

Pictures by Jurg and Diana, words by Diana of Elephant's Eye


  1. What happened to poor Spirulino?

  2. Elizabeth - I have added a link back to the sparrow's story for you.

  3. A poetic post full of truth.

    Am still figuring out picks, but will make more effort. Especially with new bloggers--I remember how so many welcomed my efforts.

  4. thank you...

  5. Diana, I love your talent for weaving so many diffuse topics together into a coherent narrative. And you get extra good karma for taking the time to try to explain Blotanical esoterica to new Blotanists. I haven't forgotten my primer idea, but have put it on the back burner waiting for things to settle down. -Jean

  6. Your Chocolat looks so much like our Nemo and then we still have a Sparkle - spent the last few weeks protecting a nest of babies from our two bird watchers, all is well as they have safely taken off.

  7. I'm so glad you keep Spirulino from Chocolat, and maintain a healthy balance between all the groups, as much as you can, in your corner of the world, Diana. Thanks for the reminder about Blotanical and the balance there, help for newcomers, etc. I checked back a few days ago and found everything fixed and functional for me, so I intend to start visiting again more often. :D

    The Gulf Coast tragedy will be felt for generations. We have friends affected there, and it is heartbreaking.

    I could see the blood on the rock. I imagined it like the sandstone in the American Southwest desert...

  8. Thanks for a thoughtful post and for the beautiful images. The first photo of the spider web is striking! You are very kind to reach out to new bloggers! My regret is that time constraints have made that more difficult for me lately, but I know that is my loss. There are many wonderful blogs I have not yet discovered.

  9. What a splendid post, Diana! It jerked me in several different directions, grief and anger and pensiveness and tentative joy.
    I haven't time for Blotanical now, not til I get this millstone off my back. Like you, I love rocks and stone, but at the moment the manuscript is feeling very much like a millstone and I just can't deal with anything else.
    Soon, though. Soon...


Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
My Canon PowerShot A490

If I use your images or information, it will be clearly acknowledged with either a link to the website, or details of the book. If you use my images or words, I expect you to acknowledge them in turn.

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