Old Ways

Morning dew on spiders web.allspossible.org.flickr

Photo credit: allspossible.org.uk



Grandmother Spider watched the newcomer weave her elaborate web.

Jaconda spent days making complicated swirls, decorated with iridescent moon-dew and tiny buds.

Grandmother checked her own web.  Symmetric, stable, taut in the right places.

“What say you, Grandmother?  Is it not beautiful?”

“I’ve never seen anything like it.  But aren’t there too many gaps?”

Jaconda snorted.  “You wouldn’t understand.  It’s daring, new.  Yours is practically invisible. Everyone will prefer mine.”

Indeed, everyone admired it, for weeks, as Jaconda slowly starved.

Meanwhile Grandmother savored every juicy meal.  For her web wasn’t designed to be admired.  It was designed to catch flies.



Word count: 100.  Written for this week’s Friday Fictioneers challenge, hosted by the wonderful Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.  Click on the link to see other stories written based on the original photo prompt, below.

This is my first post in a while, after taking a longer-than-expected break over the holidays.  So HELLO again everyone!   I was intending to make my first post about my New Year’s resolutions, but… Well, my initial goals about getting super organized and being crazy productive and a stickler about prioritizing?  Not meeting 100% success on that so far, between work during the day and wine during the evening.  🙂   Ah well, I still have time to turn it around.  In the meantime, it’s nice to be back!

FF.sarahs-spider-web-potter

Photo © Victor and Sarah Potter



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72 thoughts on “Old Ways

    • I think most folks are lucky to get even a single practical person – female or male – in their history! My guess is that Jaconda felt more justified and self-satisfied than anything else; some people would rather starve for their principles than admit that their elders may be right in this one instance.

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  1. Happy New Year, Joy! Nice to be reading you again 🙂 What lovely imagery you create her, the words are spell binding. And quite a lesson too – beauty should stay where beauty is needed, but when it comes to putting food on the table, just do what works! Lovely take on the prompt

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  2. Welcome back, Joy. Good to see your stories again. Grandmother spider got to be a grandmother for good reason. Sometimes the young fail to appreciate the wisdom of the old. Oh well. Less competition for food for Grandma.

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    • It’s so often the case, yes: the young think they have some new exciting idea that nobody has thought of before, and it doesn’t occur to them that their elders already thought of it, or why they might have rejected it! Granted, the elders can be pretty fuddy-duddy and need a kick in the pants sometimes too; this time it just happened that practicality won. Thanks for coming by, Eric!

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    • Glad to be back, thanks, Rochelle! And yes, exactly — some things can use an artistic makeover and some really need to be left alone. A bright, colorful, really visible spider web? What fly is stupid enough to fly into *that*?

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    • Exactly, Ali! Sometimes new ideas are just what’s needed, and sometimes… Well, you should really think about why everyone’s been doing it the same way for so long before randomly changing important elements of it, like making the spider web super visible to the bugs you’re trying to trap!

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    • I feel a little bad for her too — all that creativity! Maybe the art movement can go in a slightly different direction and still survive, like one that doesn’t rely on the same web both being artistic AND catching dinner.

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    • Thanks G, glad you enjoyed it! I’m afraid I’m coming off as a bit of a traditionalist, which is weird, since usually I’m the opposite. But I’ve had a few instances lately of people at work wanting to change things just for the sake of changing things and being new and modern. They say they’re thinking outside the box but I wonder if they even know where the box is, or why it got built that way in the first place. Creativity in design is great, but it can’t overpower function, or… well, it won’t work, duh!

      Fascinating link– wow, caffeine really does mess up those spiders!

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    • Everything is better with spiders, right? Hm. Well, a good allegory is, at least. I normally side with the dreamers, but I’m taking a turn showing the old-time pragmatist’s perspective this time. I suspect the older I get, the more often I’ll do that, lol…. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I am gathering a collection of spiders’ webs. And they are all different. But what sticks in my memory are the webs that lined the roads in Glastonbury one very early, late September, misty morning several years back (before phones had cameras. And heading for the Tor, for yet another morning climb, I had not brought a camera with me. Drats.
    I do like your story. Indeed, functionality versus beauty.

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    • I had to do a double-take to realize you were collecting pictures of them, not the actual spider webs. Goodness, I must need more coffee this morning! Spider webs are fascinating; they make a great subject for photography. And yes, it seems like you never have your camera with you when you see the most amazing things…

      Glad you liked the story. I think most things can be functional and also beautiful, if designed with that in mind. But some designs seem to forget that the thing actually has to be *used* and not just looked at. I was just amused by the idea that a spider would decorate a web without considering that this is basically a “watch out– sticky web here!” sign to any bugs flying by. 😀

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      • I have a wonderful collection around the house (really must get the duster out!) But I do allow the smaller house spiders, and I don’t have a problem with the usual type of household flies. The only spiders I really don’t like are the hunters. No webs, and they’re carnivorous. Our largest UK spiders are hunters. I began taking an interest in them when I started writing Feast Fables.

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      • We get a lot of black widows here, and I have a zero-tolerance policy for them inside. When I had a garage, it was impossible to keep them out, and I had to be super-careful not to accidentally bring them into the house. It got to the point where I would get paranoid about them getting inside the car… (shiver)

        Other spiders are fine with me, but I tell them to keep high up on the walls or ceiling. If they’re stupid enough to get to the floor, they’ll learn that my cat refuses to sign the no-aggression treaty. Worse, she constantly violates my ban on torture. Poor little spiders…

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