A magical leaf

Dear President Biden,

Last night when I took Buddy for his evening constitutional I had the great good fortune to see a gorgeous medium-small oval-shaped reddish-orange-ish leaf dangling about five feet from the tree limb from which it likely fell and hovering about a foot above the scrappy lambs ears underneath said tree. Such sightings aren’t all that unusual – we have lots of very industrious spiders around here and leaf dangling seems to be one of their “specialities” (as Wallace would put it – see the Wallace and Gromit movies). This one, however, was furiously turning back and forth 180 degrees on a straight axis and the only way it could do that is if it was anchored both from the top and from the bottom. Somehow the leaf either got tangled into a vertical line dropped by a spider that had enough give not to be torn by the leaf or the spider in question somehow, for some reason, actively incorporated the leaf into her vertical line.

The how and why of it aren’t for this mere mortal to know (some other mere mortal – like one who knows tons about spider habits – would likely be able to explain most everything about this phenomenon), but the wonder of it is certainly for this mere mortal to enjoy. And to pass along.

When I checked this morning the leaf wasn’t oscillating anymore, but it was still suspended and tethered to the lambs ears below. It had maybe slipped down a few inches since it was just 6 inches from the tips of the lambs ears but that spider silk was still going strong.

Now, this evening, about 24 hours after the first sighting, it’s still suspended and I think it’s still tethered down below but by tomorrow morning it’s almost certainly going to be resting on the ground as it only has about 2 more inches to go.

I wish you could have seen the leaf when it was doing it’s full on gyrations midway between here and there.

Maybe there’s something akin to it on the wilder outskirts of the White House grounds or maybe at your home in Delaware or maybe at Camp David, which I just learned is named for Dwight Eisenhower’s grandson, David, which is kind of sweet but he did have a granddaughter named Susan so while not surprising that he went with the boy name, maybe you all could call it Camp Susan. Or how about naming it “Camp Harriet” after Harriet Tubman?? How about it? A little corrective on the mega-male naming deal would be great. Symbolic and not all that consequential, yes, but still, it would be a nice gesture. And it seems like Ike just started calling it Camp David ‘cuz he wanted to so who’s to say you can’t start calling it something different ‘cuz you want to?

Anyway, I hope you come across some nature wonder soon and I hope that it gives you a bit of a lift and reminds you – in a super tangible sort of way – how critical it is that the voting rights and the infrastructure bills all pass so that 1) we will have a democracy that answers to majorities, 2) we are (finally) putting some real resources into protecting the planet, 3) we might just be able to leave our children’s children’s children a livable planet where spiders cast silk strands that catch leaves that twist in the breeze, and 4) our children and their children and their children can all have save, ready access to such wonders because all of this is beyond important – it’s vital.

May we all be safe to get caught up in outdoor wonders.
May we all be willing to safeguard our outdoor wonders.
May we work up the strength and courage to stop tolerating the intolerable.
May we accept that neither our democracy nor our planet can take much more of what’s been on tap for the very last long time.

Tracy Simpson

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