Web of Life
The Japanese Beetles are back. The past few summers, they arrived as early as late June…this summer, not til late July. I have a mixed relationship with Japanese Beetles. On the one hand, they are beautiful creatures with iridescent wings. On the other hand, they almost defoliated my plum tree last year when I allowed them to have free reign.
So now, one or two times most days, I walk among the hibiscus and roses, scooping them up, one by one, with a plastic spoon, and flicking them into a jar of soapy water, marveling and apologizing all the while. At least I’m not using chemicals, I think to myself, trying to assuage my guilt.
Then one beautiful, warm, sunny afternoon, I got a different view of the Japanese beetles and their presence and purpose in my garden. A friend and I were working on our laptops on our backyard deck. It was the kind of warm day that brings the beetles out in full force. I told my friend about the large yellow and green spider that Jim and I had seen in the garden the day before. She and I took a break from computing to walk out to the rose bushes looking for the resident arachnid.
There she was sitting on the web that she had strung, suspended between two rose bushes. Jim looked up her name– Yellow and Green Garden Spider—how apropos. We marveled at her engineering abilities and the accuracy of her name. We watched as she used her long legs to snatch a Japanese Beetle and pull it into her web. There, she wrapped the beetle in the same white threads that she had used to create her web.
“Dinner,” thought the spider.
“Not today,” thought the beetle.
The epic battle began…the beetle struggling for it’s life…the spider preparing to eat. The beetle stretched and squirmed and pushed and wiggled, the spider watching all the while. Suddenly, amazingly, the beetle broke free from the spider’s tight swaddling.
I had mixed feelings. …the beetle had escaped…no longer would it become dinner, at least for the moment. I had just witnessed an epic battle of life and death in my own garden. I was awed by the beetle’s will to survive. Yet, now that it had survived, here was another beetle to devour the very rose bush that supported its webbed prison…another one for me to stalk with my plastic spoon.
The spider lost it’s dinner, the spider saved it’s own life and I witnessed an epic battle which set the stage for another. The circle of life spins between the rose bushes in my back yard…and I am a part of it.