Thursday, November 11, 2010

It was a dark and stormy evening

Dirt roads winding through an uncharacteristically lush desert landscape. Vans covered in dust and debris. Low hanging clouds washed in pastel hues, transitioning into ominously stern storm vessels. A lingering heaviness in the air, with the threat (reward?) of rain.

Driving precariously along a cliff ledge when - movement. Tires crunching to a halt. Excited door slamming, fumbling for cameras and headlamps. A rumble of thunder in the distance, and then nearer. The subject unaware of the commotion.

A serene yet sinister moment in time, lightning flashes. The calming sunset colors fade, stealing away the last vestiges of daylight. The subject stirs.

Defensive postures do not deter the tourists. Cameras struggle to deal with the stormy evening shades. Shaking lights cause temporary blindness and disorientation. The desire to flee finally resonates. Hands reach forward to wrangle the subject, to create a better pose. Is the threat real? Another lightning flash, and the pregnant clouds release a small sample of their cargo onto the dry earth.

Impatience. The journey must continue. Scrambling, closing doors resonating against the cliff walls. Within moments, nothing but settling dust particles remain. Large droplets stain the road. The subject takes shelter.
(A male Aphonopelma sp. tarantula, which I held for a few moments on the side of the road.)

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