spiders and dna

The spider moves around the stem of the plant and deftly starts to weave her web, aiming for a shimmering double helix it appears. I haunch down to get a closer look at the spinnerets at the back of her body. As she presses them against the stem, a strand of liquid silk emerges. Moving away, the viscid liquid hardens in the air. I know that she’s watching me too, and briefly, her glittering eyes meet mine.

I say something about how fragile and broken her web looks, and she stops weaving; coats her legs with an oily substance from her mouth and tumbles through the foliage, landing at my feet. Her body now resembles that of a praying mantis – at least she stands upright, for which I am grateful. The crouching posture of spiders scare me and I’ve often thought that if only they had two legs instead of eight, no-one would suffer from arachnophobia.

We have a conversation; I feel like a child being gently scolded by her mother. (I think Charlotte’s Web entered the dream right about here.) What do I know about weaving webs? she wants do know. What do I know about catching prey? What – after all – do I know about keeping my self alive; about survival?

This image best resembles my dream spider’s web…slightly broken, yet with potential. This is the work of Francis Crick and James D. Watson, presenting their proposal for the double-helical structure of DNA and its replication scheme. If you have to, read more at: http://prl.aps.org/50years/timeline/DNA%20double%20helix

Argiope australis. Dream spider. Visiting http://www.take-a-hike.co.za/ will tell you more.

I have no answer to give my spider mother and watch mutely as she scampers back into position to continue her important work.

present tense

At a cellular level, everything and everybody gets reduced to pure pattern. This knowledge excites me and feeds my creative process. I seek for hexagons everywhere – delighted when I found it on the flat stone that my hand-wash basin soap rests on: a delicate tracing of hexagons where the soap bubbles have burst and dried.

 Chemical building blocks are the basis for all living organisms on our planet, and some elements are found in greater abundance: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus.

This image from http://spie.org/ is an example of why hexagons excite me so much. This computerised model is of carbon foam (honeycomb graphite). 

…and this illustration of  dancing hydrogen bonds further proves my point. 


This image depicts the calcium carbonate biomineralisation model studied by the research team at nsls.bnl.gov. Could also easily be a designer carpet or wall hanging.

Time to get back to work, inspired by the secret worlds inside us all.
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