The vineyards roll like waves across the valley and lap at the feet of distant blue-green velvet hills.  Spinny and I see sunlight glint on the river now it meanders reflectively, its youthful energies spent in the headlong rush down the mountains.   Along the valley, in the fields and by the river, tiny scuttling specks of humanity catch Spinny’s attention.

‘What are they doing?  Why do they rush around like that?’

For a spider, Spinny is often very inquisitive.  

‘Oh, you know, they’ve jobs to do and fun to have.  Dreams to chase and time to pass.  Just surviving, I suppose.’

This makes Spinny frown, a tricky manoeuvre.  ‘It’s easy for you to say “just surviving”.  You make it sound trivial.  Surviving is hard.’  

I see there are no flies in the web today.  

‘I’m sorry, you’re right.’

Spinny sniffs.   ‘You humans with your neo-cortex and advanced reasoning have made surviving so easy you take it for granted.’  

‘But that’s a good thing, isn’t it?  I mean, not having to worry about surviving all the time.  It gives us the chance to do other things.’

About half a dozen eyebrows are raised at this.  ‘Such as?’

‘Well, like… trying to understand the world around us.’

‘Understanding.  Yes, OK, that would be good.’  Spinny glances at the empty web.   ‘But is that all?’

There’s a fly landing on my arm.   I catch it discreetly and stick it on the web while Spinny’s not looking.  

‘Well, I suppose that it’s sometimes nice to share things, too.’

The fly’s struggles to escape alert Spinny, who crawls across the web towards it, muttering absent-mindedly on the way.  

‘Yes, surviving, understanding and sharing.  Good things to do.’

Please come in and take a look around our cave.  Just catch hold of Spinny to enter.

Enter cave

Francis Goode lives here