Aug 9 2010


Melissa Crytzer Fry

When I was running this morning, I felt like I was being wrapped in a cocoon. Not sure if the rain has something to do with it, but I got wrapped up in more cobwebs than ever before.

This web constructed by a funnel web spider may not be the same kind of wispy, single-threaded webs that stick to me like glue every morning, but it is a good representation of the things I see on my morning jogs. Click to enlarge.

The spidies like to string their silken strands from palo verde tree to palo verde tree, creating a bit of a web for their human friend who runs by each morning. And boy are those things sticky … I’d try to shake them off, but they’d follow behind me, managing to tangle around my elbows and biceps when I’d stop for just a minute. Just when I thought I’d gotten one dislodged, I’d run into another.

My eventual movements – dodging in and out, trying to avoid them – kind of reminded me of the way villains in action flicks dodge in and out of the invisible infrared security sensors while trying to rob banks. If that were the case, I’d have been caught, for sure!

For Writers: The topic of spider webs obviously got me thinking about entanglement, and being wrapped in a tight cocoon. For moths I’ve been saying I’m going to start on my second novel. But I realized this morning that I have pretty much just been entangled in my own fears of starting something new, wondering if my characters will have the chops to endear their fates and if they’ll elicit the compassion of readers (hence the procrastination). But today, I have begun research and preliminary writing on my second novel. Cobwebs be damned!

This picturesque view of the Galiuro Mountains is one of many sights seen during my regular hikes and morning jogs – with or without cobwebs. Click to enlarge.

Aug 6 2010

Emerald Green Beetle

Melissa Crytzer Fry

“Dorothy! We’re not in Kansas anymore!”

That’s what I thought when this emerald green, shiny beetle sauntered along under our breezeway, garnering attention with his vibrant, metallic “bling.” Yes, I said “bling.”

The “Fig Eater Beetle” (aka June Bug of the desert) looks nothing like the dull brown June Bug of my youth in Pennsylvania. They’re rarely seen in the remote desert due to lack of moisture (and fruit), so I feel privileged to have caught a glimpse! Click to enlarge.

I have never before seen one of these guys in my dozen years of desert living – and most assuredly have never seen one in my home state of Pennsylvania. So I am instantly amazed by his brilliance but, once again, I’m most moved by the invisible webs that seem to connect nature and man – even when we don’t know it.

Take a look at the photo above: pretty incredible how our manmade metallic motorcycle and hotrod paint jobs (which most of us think are the result of man’s creativity) mirror NATURE – not the other way around.

After some serious searching, I discovered that he is a June Bug (this, after telling my friend Kathy, “No way. It was definitely NOT a June Bug.” Ha… But he certainly didn’t look anything like the drab brown June Bugs of Pennsylvania.). No … certainly, we are not in Kansas – I mean Pennsylvania – anymore.

For Writers: We all know that setting is one of the key elements of novel writing. And it’s no surprise that nature is frequently at the heart of compelling settings. Have you ever considered giving nature a starring role in your novel – allowing it to become its own character? What novels have you read where nature (via ‘setting’) is integral to the storyline, a character unto itself, or so vividly described that you wish you could click your heels in the hopes of visiting that enchanted place someday?