Posted by McNeney
No one paid much attention when the spider first showed up at school. Sure, he was a bit too small to fit the standard desk, but the teacher was accustomed to meeting students’ special needs. She set him up with a shoebox, which she placed on his desk top, and allowed him to climb the walls or pipes or blackboard if he had trouble following the lessons.
Other than a few boys threatening to squish him (which really, was not that unusual for new kids) the spider’s life in school was fairly uneventful. Until the day he turned in his science project.
“What’s this?” the teacher asked.
“It’s my model of the solar system,” the spider said proudly. He’d been up half the night spinning it, and then out all morning coaxing dew drops into just the right places. He might not have been as talented as his classmates when it came to sports, or math (having eight legs, he found the whole business of counting to 10 using fingers and toes completely confusing and confounding, and had trouble moving past that) but here, in the world of science, the spider felt he truly excelled. He held up his model so that tiny images of forest and sky could be seen in the droplets, suspended upsidedown, signifying everything.
He smiled his widest spider smile, excepting praise. But the teacher said, “Oh, no. This is all wrong. I mean… where is Earth? Where is the sun? I don’t see any labels on your planets and… really… why are there so many globules? And why aren’t they arranged in a straight line, the way we taught you?”
The spider wanted to answer that, from his perspective, this WAS an accurate model of… not just the solar system, but the whole universe. He also wanted to point out that… even with eight eyes… his vision was not his primary sense and he mainly saw blobs of dark and light.
But he didn’t say these things because he’d learned that people, in general, did not want to hear them. They did not want to know about other, different ideas and perspectives. In school, they simply wanted you to tell them what they’d told you.
So the teacher stood there frowning, not even remarking on the brilliance of the spider’s work; the effort he’d invested; the way he’d captured the whole wide world in tiny glistening droplets. And the spider knew right then that school was not the place for him. He dropped to the floor, scurried out of the building and headed back to the forest.
“What did you learn at school today?” his mother asked when he got home.
And the little spider looked up at her, all eight eyes brimming with tears. “Everything,” he answered. “Today I learned everything I’ll ever need to know about people and the people world, and that’s quite enough. I’m not going back.”
spider web, dew, drops, DoF, bokeh, fiction, figured i’d better put that last tag on… just in case someone thought the story was true, last night Echo and I went back to the park after a day of rain, and noticed not a single web… anywhere, it’s so sad to realize these beautiful constructions are so danged temporary, (but then, almost everything strikes me as sad around this time of year)