This morning I shared my porch table with a small gray spider, perhaps a quarter inch long. The spider was fully formed, as they are even at hatching. I am tempted to say that it was an adult, given the time of year, but the unseasonably hot days of September make the statement less certain.
The spider seemed indisposed to stay, crossing to the far end. When I interposed my pen in the path, the arachnid raised the foremost pair of legs for a tactile examination. Not interested, the spider turned back toward me.
When I placed an open book in the path, the spider climbed up onto the page, which provided a map of the world. Uninterested in the land masses of North and South America, the intrepid spider crossed the Pacific Ocean, north to south.
Not satisfied with this an adventure, the spider crossed to the opposing page which held a map of the world illustrated with time zones. Continuing its southerly movement, the spider followed the Hawaii/Tahiti time zone which includes a bit of Alaska. The huge land mass of Alaska crosses three times zones, a feat in which it is aided by the convergence of the zones at their northern limits. Greenland likewise crosses three zones, but neither offers competition for Russia, which crosses nine, sharing time zones with Cairo, Baghdad, Dubai, Karachi, Dhaka, Bangkok, Beijing, Tokyo, and Canberra.
My spider showed interest in none of these distant lands, simply traveling across Hawaii and Tahiti. It did not even enter the adjacent Alaska Time Zone or the Samoa Time Zone. I suppose there is something to be said for singleness of purpose.
The Hawaii/Tahiti time zone is, by the way, eleven hours behind Greenwich Mean Time and one hour ahead of Samoa. So far as I could tell, the spider was unimpressed with these facts or the recent travels. Some people say Grandmother Spider crossed the world and brought back the sun. In that case, I suppose a bit of globe-trotting is not so unusual for a creature so small.
When I interposed my pen again, this spider happily accepted a ride down to the floor of the porch and went about the business of being a spider. I felt no revulsion at the spider’s exoskeleton, so different from my endoskeleton, or its venomous bite by which it captures prey. I thought of its similarities to a tick, a scorpion, and a crab, all distant relatives of the spider, with which I avoid contact, but without ill will. They fascinate me and I wish for more time to observe them.