Insightful and spiritual thoughts on everyday life related to the natural world, accompanied by photographs and artwork by the author.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
“They’re ev’rywhere! They’re ev’rywhere!” In what seems an appropriate time and place, I love to ramble off this line, in high-pitched, cartoon-character voice. As my husband remembers, sometime, someplace we lived had a TV commercial with a “Chicken Man” who was “...ev’rywhere, ev’rywhere!” His memory for such things is far better than mine. I only remember the line and the many times I’ve used it.
At this time of year, they are ev’rywhere. In the corners of doors, windows, across walkways, between trees and bushes. One small one is right up against our bedroom window; a huge one straddles an evergreen outside our bathroom. You can clear them away and one afternoon (or one hour!) later they’re back.
In early spring, hoards of tiny hatchlings appear. We leave most of them be, knowing the good they ultimately do and their place in the greater scheme of things. Some, however, we cannot abide - those who always take over the mail box, set up camp in my husband’s workshop, rally round the back door. In those cases, it’s all-out warfare: them against us. No contest - there’s always more of “them” than “us”.
Think of it - there are kazillions out there! Birds and insects feast and a few furry critters munch on them. Those who escape lie in wait, silently and meticulously weaving their webs. At Family Camp this summer we took the kids on a “Haunted Hike” into the woods, dusting with cornstarch to reveal a great many webs. We marveled at the “high-rises” of web upon web upon web up into the trees - many of a unique domed shape.
Gluing down one end of a silken strand, they crawl, rappel, or float on the breeze to an often distant site - spinning from their own body as they go - to firmly attach the other end. Other supporting strands are tacked down to twigs, leaves or what-have-you. First, a framework of scaffolding upon which to work. Then, the interweaving of connecting lines - one delicate strand at a time. When complete it is an intricate work of art, especially enchanting when sparkling with morning dew or fresh drops of rain.
It is, however beautiful, a trap - craftily set and vigilantly guarded. Touch it gently and you will find it sticky. I have tried to fool the spinner this way, gently tapping the web to imitate a struggling insect, to no avail. I’ve tossed in a small piece of leaf for the same reason with similar results. The one-who-lurks is not so easily fooled. My husband just tosses in small bugs. Instantly knowing the difference, it waits only long enough to be sure the bug is caught, that its struggling against the surprisingly strong, sticky strands has entrapped its legs and wings. It then hurries to paralyze, but not kill, the victim; wrapping it round ‘n round “mummy fashion” in webbing to save for a future meal. It sounds cruel, but it is the way of the spider - the only way it knows.
The spider’s occupation is “Webmaster” and she does it well. The future of her kind depends on it - she must have insect protein to produce her eggs. Routinely, she checks her web. If it is damaged, she repairs it - over and over again. If it is destroyed she will often eat it (ultimate recycling?), spinning another as many times as she needs to. Each week I descend the hill to change the message on a reader board. Without fail, I find webs attached to the sign that I cannot help but destroy as I open it. Week after week they are back in the same place - it is not easy to discourage a spider!
Oh, that I might be as diligent in my life’s work...
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.