No two people ever see exactly the same thing. Where one person sees the rainbow, another sees the rain. What we see and experience is directly related to where we're standing, and people that don't have television are standing at a peaceful distance from world events.
We're aware of big things, like Ohio being under water and wars going on all over the world. We can send good thoughts, strength and prayers for all involved without becoming trapped in media-induced hysteria.
We're peacefully unaware of the daily litany of horrors related by newscasters who are paid for their ability to project pathos while remaining totally unaffected. We're usually oblivious to the tragedies brought about by people who ought to know better.
Drama of a different kind
Reality at Gopher Gulch is both busy and calm these days. Rubber Tubby's shelter is nearly completed and spiders are already setting up housekeeping in the corners of the new pellet shed. The swallows have that faraway, listening look. Soon they'll leave for the winter, and I'm going to miss them.
For those who avoid media hysteria, the drama in life is provided by plums ripening faster than they can be picked and raccoons trying to get into the house. Though we're often told by harried friends that we live in a violent world, we don't really believe them. We have no point of reference. For us, harsh reality is the price of gas and a dear friend moving far away.
That's why it was such a huge shock when I actually witnessed a violent act leading to a death of the most terrifying sort. I was peacefully going about the day when I heard someone screaming for help. I spun around, stunned by the scene unfolding before me.
A violent encounter
I could see that one fellow was down and helpless under his larger assailant, while the aggressor was all over him. While the victim's screams went on and on, assaulting my nerves and making my heart pound, his attacker was silent as death, only the jerky motions of his limbs giving some clue to the passions that drove him.
He quickly bound his victim, while I was wondering whether to interfere. Should I try to break it up? Was there time to call for help? The victim's struggles were growing weak, his cries muffled, and then, suddenly, it was over.
The spider moved purposefully across his victim and bit him on the head. Within seconds, the fly ceased to struggle and his web-wound limbs went limp. His cries died away and he appeared to lose consciousness. So quickly it was over.
Yes, reality definitely depends upon where you're standing. Myself, I'm quite happy standing here with my hand lens, watching a master hunter clean and hang his prey. It does seem ironic that the fly died among the rue blossoms. Bitter as rue, indeed. And through the magnifying lens, the spider winks his multi-faceted eye at me, as if we're partners in irony.
Reach Inez Castor, a long-time Triplicate columnist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.