In SLOW LOVE, I write about sitting on the ground after a day of gardening, just taking things in. A hummingbird begins waggling around me; I had been reading up on them because I had found one, its neck broken, in the garden, and I had shrouded it in an ivy leaf that I pinned with a pine needle. I'm too tired to move, which is clearly what this little bird wants me to do, so instead, I rehearse what I know about hummingbirds, in her honor:"tongues thin as thread; feet poor for walking; eggs the size of peas; nests the size of walnuts, made of dandelion fluff and spider silk. I may have made that last bit up, embroidering with the silk. I want it to be true. Sometimes it is hard to leave off desiring for reality."
Well, Leslie Brunetta, the woman who came up to me after the reading, has just published a book with coauthor Catherine Craig called Spider Silk: Evolution and 400 Million Years of Spinning, Waiting, Snagging & Mating. She told me that it was absolutely true that hummingbirds use spider silk in their nests! Her mother had found a couple in their lawn thirty years ago, and they were still intact, so durable is that miraculous thread. I was astonished and delighted. Just that morning, I had found and photographed an intact spider web, pearled with dew, strung across an armchair outside my study.
And then, to my further surprise, a woman whose face looked familiar came up and introduced herself as a long ago friend from my summer camp days. We had once been close, but I had not seen her since 1974; I look forward to catching up. So far, because of SLOW LOVE readings, I have once again found my best friend from elementary school, several high school friends, and a couple of camp friends. What a strange and wonderful circle of life in which I am now spinning.