Looking out from the 96th floor of the John Hancock building, my discovery this time in Chicago, was a spider hanging from a single silken thread 500 meters above the ground. For few minutes – the majestic skyline, the vast lake, the huge crowds inside & outside faded out of my focus.
I was watching this tiny creature swinging in the fierce wind of the windy city and spinning its web. And I wondered how it got up there? Were there more like it?
Googling revealed a fascinating story of spider infestations on top of the skyscrapers. Some of them crawl all the way up from the road to the top – almost 500 mts. Some others form a small balloon/kite of web and allow the wind carry them to the top. They like it up there.
The upward wind draft along side the tall buildings carries a large number of insects which get trapped in the webs contributing to a unending, varied buffet for their hunters. What amazed me more was how did the damned spiders know all this would happen? Chicago lies in a great plain – and I doubt if these insects knew any of the air dynamics near tall structures.
These new buildings were completed in the last 100 years – a tiniest smudge in the vast canvas of time. And yet Nature diligently learnt how to make the best of it. And these artificial man made hills that we call skyscrapers are already part of an ecosystem. In its dark humor, it has turned the tables and in a way we built all of these buildings to serve spiders better.
Reading more, I was equally fascinated to learn that birds were using cigarette butts to line their nests since the nicotine acts as a natural insecticide and protects their babies from infections and increases immunity.
Makes me think. We may think we are the most superior beings on the planet and deem ourselves distinct from the vast multitude of other mindless creatures. In our arrogance we destroy and kill other species and perhaps irrevocably damage the planet. Or maybe we just think so. Whatever we do, “life finds a way“.
If the whole history of earth was compressed into one day, humans have been around for just over one minute. Here is a graphical representation of what I mean. There has been multiple cycles of destruction and reconstruction of the planet. Maybe in this light, we are just toddlers throwing tantrums and nature like an old genial parent lets us do what we please. Since a child’s tantrums hardly amount to anything.