Sunday, January 4, 2009
"The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible."
Standing in Mater's kitchen last month, I caught sight of a spider hesitating between the legs of a chair.
I immediately drew attention to the creature, hoping he would be quickly gathered and set down outside.
He was scooped up for all to look at, from a distance if we were so inclined. The spider bore five legs. That fact in itself was not a surprise, given that injuries occur and that the animal world is as violent and unpredictable and cruel as the human one.
What astonished the witnesses was this: there was no place at all on the spider's body for a sixth, seventh and eighth leg: he was a genuine five-legged spider, but not in the sense of having lost three appendages. He was not crippled, not even slightly, and when placed on the ground he ran like the wind away from prying eyes and bewildered bipeds.
I had not heard of such a thing. My childhood education revolved around serious facts and particles of knowledge, one of which assured me that spiders in their natural condition always possess eight legs.
There are, of course, different ways to look at the discovery.
Some will be convinced that the world is altering, that new species of everything are arriving at an alarming rate and that nothing is as it was.
Some will take note of the oddity and suggest it might be a symbol of fortune- good or bad- for the year ahead.
Only Mr. Pentapede can know for certain, but he, presumably having had a sufficiency of intrusive human curiosity, is now nowhere to be found.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 1:13 PM