Thursday, September 29, 2011

Our Spider

Liana and I are studying spiders. We're at the end of Zoology 3 that we began last year. It's a good time of the year for spiders. They seem to be everywhere. Or maybe we are just more tuned in to find them now. We built a frame to invite a spider to spin a web so we could observe it and then planted the frame outside near the bamboo grove. Yesterday we went out to check on it only to find it was damaged from all the rain we've had. It took a long time to make, so that was discouraging.

As we folded up our project to put out for the trash, Fred said, hurry, come and check out this spider. There, right in front of the shed, was a huge spider! Huge from our perspective anyway, I guess it would not be large at all in the Amazon rain forest. It was fat and hairy, with striped legs and two white spots on its abdomen that looked like eyes. We've already learned that brown recluse spiders don't live here and black widow spiders are very distinctive, so we concluded this spider was harmless. And not scary. Liana didn't back away in fear; instead she ran for the camera and got up close trying to get a good shot.

We stood there a long time watching our spider. It was building a very large orb web and seemed to be in a great hurry. We were fascinated because we'd read about the way an orb web is constructed and this spider certainly had the directions memorized. How can a little creature be so precise? How can each strand of silk be placed in just the right spot to form this beautiful design? We watched as it raced up and down making the radial lines and then come back to the center and circle around attaching them all.

Our multitude of photos did not turn out. Liana tried hard to capture this moment but the spider was so quick in its work. It just wouldn't stand still to pose. So we imprint this special time we shared in our memory and in these words. In light of the book I'm reading, I think, what if we hadn't stopped...if we hadn't really looked... These times are the treasures of life.

We're hoping for a sunny morning so we can go out and see dewdrops on the silk and maybe get a better photo.


The next morning was cloudy, but we went to check on our spider anyway. It had caught a small beetle in its beautiful web. As we watched, it wrapped the insect around and around in white silk. Then suddenly, as if it just noticed us standing there, it quickly skimmed across the web and disappeared beneath the shed roof.

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