Heading for Soraksan Nature Preserve
I'll be away with my family until Thursday, vacationing on the eastern coast of Korea at Soraksan Nature Preserve, which boasts the highest point in the Taebaek Mountain Range, the 'famous' Daechongbong Peak (대청봉), which rises to 1,708 metres (5,603 feet) and thereby makes for the third-highest point in South Korea and -- by the way -- 1,564 feet higher than the towering Mt. Sunflower of Kansas!
My wife insists that I won't be doing any blogging from there. I'm not sure how she knows that, but she's sometimes right about the things that I can't do. Like when I can't have that third beer. She's sometimes right about that. It's a mysterious thing, how she can be right, but that third beer will sometimes return to the fridge. I don't fully understand this predictive power that she has, and I often suspect that she's not so much 'predicting' as actually . . . well, this sounds odd, but as actually determining the future. It's a little scary.
While I'm away from blogging (should my wife be correct again), I'm concerned that Uncle Cran will have nothing to occupy himself, and as we all know from experience, the Devil makes work for idle hands. In my uncle's own words from an early email this morning:
With the cooler weather, the daylight hours shorter, and shadows longer, the feeling of fall is in the air. We still have a lot of hummingbirds here on Hummingbird Lane, they will start heading south in a couple of weeks.I'm surprised to learn that Uncle Cran also downs a bellyful of 'grasshopper', for Ozark hillbillies don't generally do that, but I've seen fried grasshoppers in various places, and here in Korea, people even 'enjoy' silkworm larvae. I can't quite work up the nerve to try those.
Last week our first golden orb spider built her nest by our back patio. Her tiny potential boyfriend was carefully trying to approach her. I think he suffers the same fate as the black widow male if he makes a false move. I sometimes catch a small grasshopper and put it on the nest to watch the action. She has poor eyesight, and just waits patiently until the hopper wiggles, places her feelers on different strands, locates the victim, checks him with her feelers, determines whether predator or lunch, then shoots out webbing, takes her hind legs and flings the webbing on din-din, wraps him up, and keeps adding more webbing as she spins him around and around, then and only then does she do the fatal bite and inject the venom. Then she goes back and rests as the venom dissolves the insides of the hopper. Later, she leisurely inserts her feeding tubes and dines sumptiously (or as I do at mealtimes, downs a bellyfull).
You can see a person's idea of a pastime changes with old age. I still read and work the crossword puzzle, so I have other interests beside spider watching.
At least I'm not yet idle, unlike Uncle Cran, and therefore undergo no temptation to toy with spiders and their prey. Saint Augustine warned about such dangers posed by that sort of curiosity:
Nevertheless, in how many most minute and contemptible things is our curiosity daily tempted, and who can number how often we succumb? How often, when people are narrating idle tales, do we begin by tolerating them, lest we should give offence unto the weak; and then gradually we listen willingly! I do not now-a-days go to the circus to see a dog chasing a hare; but if by chance I pass such a coursing in the fields, it possibly distracts me even from some serious thought, and draws me after it,—not that I turn the body of my beast aside, but the inclination of my mind. And except Thou, by demonstrating to me my weakness, dost speedily warn me, either through the sight itself, by some reflection to rise to Thee, or wholly to despise and pass it by, I, vain one, am absorbed by it. How is it, when sitting at home, a lizard catching flies, or a spider entangling them as they rush into her nets, oftentimes arrests me? Is the feeling of curiosity not the same because these are such tiny creatures? From them I proceed to praise Thee, the wonderful Creator and Disposer of all things; but it is not this that first attracts my attention. It is one thing to get up quickly, and another not to fall, and of such things is my life full; and my only hope is in Thy exceeding great mercy. For when this heart of ours is made the receptacle of such things, and bears crowds of this abounding vanity, then are our prayers often interrupted and disturbed thereby; and whilst in Thy presence we direct the voice of our heart to Thine ears, this so great a matter is broken off by the influx of I know not what idle thoughts. (Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series I, Volume I, Augustine of Hippo, Confessions, Book X, Chapter 35, Paragraph 57)Such are the dangers posed to the souls of the curious. Take care, Uncle Cran, in my absence. Guard your thoughts and actions carefully.