Scientists think this endangered Hawaiian spider, which has the scientific name Theridion grallator and is harmless to humans, has evolved the patterns to confuse predators.
In preparation for our trip to Hawaii, Carolyn asked me to do a spider search, so her arachnophobia can be at least minimally grounded in reality. We were not disappointed - neither she for her purposes, nor me for mine, which is to enjoy as much native Hawaiian flora and fauna as possible. We learned that the cane spider (Heteropoda venatoria) spans 3 to 4 inches - the size of a tuna can.
Preparations for our trip continue - research into vulcanology, feather cape construction, astronomy, air tours of the islands (copter, plane and glider - screw the zip-line, I want to fly), places to eat great food, snorkel and hike; birds, horseback riding, locations of bookstores in case of rain, cultural and art museums, ikebana, hula and surfing instruction and agricultural tours. We have been enjoying having conversations with people about their favorite Hawaii moments - horseback riding, impromptu concerts on the beach, gliders, flower fields and colorful sands necklacing luridly blue ocean swells. We have been also preparing by listening to cheesy slack-key, ancient tribal chants and modern Hawaiian carols from the 1800's. We have a modest appreciation of Hawaiian history, both ancient and modern, and are up to speed on the current condition of government and business on the islands. We monitor the waves and weather and lava flows. We are thoroughly obnoxious at every holiday party we attend, and should send out advance warnings not to ask us about our upcoming trip.
Repeatedly I am warned that we may not want to come back. That impulse may develop, but we have beloved family and friends here, and unless we can take them all with us, we aren't likely to give in to the impulse. It is inconceivable that we should voluntarily exile ourselves, even to paradise. Today, we anticipate a thick blanket of snow falling over the next few days, and skiing in Wirth Park, across the street from us. We anticipate the joy of a beloved house guest arriving tomorrow, and dinner with old friends, newly rediscovered. We have already enjoyed a wealth of moments with family and friends, and look forward to many more in the next several days. We are fortunate beyond measure and grateful for it all.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009