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walking distance

We got out of the house this morning, my wife and I. Went for a walk to see the walking bridge I mentioned in an earlier post. I'm not sure how long of a hike it was, but it took us just shy of two hours. It was an absolutely gorgeous morning, with cool fall air, a clear blue sky, and all around the smell of fallen leaves.

We didn't talk about politics; not by spoken agreement, it just happened that way. I needed the head-clearing air; everything's such a jumble lately.

I had my digital camera with me, and actually used it. I'm always perfectly willing to take pictures of trees. The camera I have seems terrible for this sort of thing, but it's the only camera I've got, and it's trees I like to take pictures of. When I can't find a bug, that is. I'm going to throw a lot of the pictures up on a page when i finish with this. Aside from my ineptness at composition (I blame the camera, but it's probably got as much to do with... well, with me,) I managed to take a few worthwhile images.

Of course I found a spider. We were on a blacktop trail beside a stream when I noticed, casually meandering the path just in front of us, a spider with a dark abdomen mottled with bright orange. My camera's macro function manages to capture images just as blurry as the other images I get with it, but I got some pictures anyway. It took me a while, my wife patiently standing there as I said, "shit, hell, I'm out of space on the camera, I'll have to put in the other flash card." Then I got on one knee and scooted along following the thing (it was really moseying, staying right in the middle of the path.) Before I could get the other card in she was saying, "there are people coming." I didn't care much; I was hoping that my position would keep anyone from stomping on the guy. A couple of people walked around me as I got the card in; then of course the camera flashed up some ugly symbol on its display indicating that it couldn't read the card. Not a surprise there, I almost hadn't bothered putting the card in at all, knowing that it'd come up unreadable at first. Not that there's anything at all wrong with the card; it's just that the camera likes to tease me for a while before it'll work. So I stuck the other card back in, planning on deleting some images. Still scooting along on one knee behind the spider.

Another group of walkers passed. This time an older guy stopped to say, "Oh, I thought you'd discovered something! But I see you're just changing your film."

When I'm following spiders around on one knee I'm apparently much more like I was as a kid than I usually am. "Oh, actually," I said, pointing at the spider, "I found this spider! It's cool."

"Wow, what's it called?" he asked.

"I have no idea, I've never seen one like it," I answered.

"Oh. I've got to catch up with my party!" he said, hurrying away.

I finally got a couple of pictures deleted from the first flashcard and took a few shots. Then i put the other card back in and took the time to get it working, and took some more shots. None of them do the thing any justice; the contrasts in the colors don't look right; just the legs of the thing were exquisitie, with orange and light bands near the thorax giving way to black and white bands at the ends. The way the thing moved, too, was very cool. It wasn't in any hurry, even when I pushed at it with the camera to see if I could get it into some sort of defensive posture. It just backed off a little then continued on its way. Of course that sort of behavior in such a fragile animal would tend to indicate that it wasn't functioning properly.

I'm guaranteed to spend at least the next three nights startling myself awake a hundred times a night, swatting at the blankets and falling onto the floor. A few minutes after leaving the thing to walk my wife, taking a drink of water from her water bottle at the time, gurgled, "Mmmeaaaa!" pointing at my foot. I jumped three feet into the air and nearly tumbled from the path and down the bank. What she was actually pointing at was a woolly bear on the path. She apparently thought it was some demon, or a long furry spider, when she first saw it.

Aaaaaah. I'm sure I'll put my tinfoil hat back on before the end of the day.

Pictures from the walk (don't worry, they're all thumbnailed, so you don't have to look at a big ugly spider if ya don't want to.)