Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hidden in Plain View

Waking that morning, the change was palpable. Cooler, yes, but more than that there was a muffled stillness, as if a downy comforter had settled over the entire neighborhood. Rising, I went to the window and folded back the fabric shutters to peer out. Thick fog had drifted up silently from the canal, bunching up between trees and obscuring the road. Across our driveway, deep mahogany leaves littered the ground beneath the maple. While the plum was just beginning to turn, the snowball bush was aflame with color, though not yet willing to let go of its leaves. As I scanned the scene, something strange caught my eye - unusual white leaves scattered evenly about on the ground between the Snowball and a large Rhodie. Curious, I pulled on a robe, stepped into my fleece slippers, and went down to the kitchen. Grabbing a cup of coffee, I told my husband there was something I needed to see and headed outside. This is not unusual for me. During the summer, I often begin the day strolling the yard in my robe, coffee in hand, for I love to watch things grow. This moody fall morning, I had a date with those white leaves.

On closer examination, I discovered that they were not leaves at all, but finely-spun webs of the funnel weavers. The morning’s dew had settled on them, making them stand out conspicuously from the darker grass they were stretched upon. Deep inside, at the narrow end of each funnel, I knew that a small spider was hiding. On feeling the vibration of an insect crossing the web, the spider dashes out, bites the insect, and carries it down into the funnel. I wondered at the number of webs, as I hadn’t remembered seeing any of them before. When had they been spun and how long had they been there?

Patrick Edwin Moran

Cupping the steaming mug in my hands, I lifted my eyes to the surrounding trees and stood in wonderment. Stretched before me, between every conceivable branch and twig throughout the woods were a myriad of dewy webs. These, the work of orb weavers, were the typical spider webs that everyone recognizes. But that morning, they were far from typical. Each one, and they were of all different sizes and at various heights, stood out as glistening beadwork against the dark woods. Each bush, tree, and clump of tall grass as far as I could see was bedecked with more tiny strings of jewels, woven back and forth, as if some tiny beings had carefully decorated them. Was it really possible they had been there all along, revealed only with the combination of heavy dew and early sunlight? There must have been a million! I was humbled by the beauty of it all.

Just imagine how much exists in this world - right under our noses - that we never see. There is that old saying of not being able to see the forest for the trees. How many other mysterious wonders may be “hidden in plain view”? That magical morning I had a glimpse of the possibilities.

“Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever,
      wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons;
      he sets up Kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise
      and knowledge to the discerning.
He reveals deep and hidden things;
      he knows what lies in darkness,
      and light dwells with him.”
Daniel 2:20-22

The secret things belong to the Lord our God,
but the things revealed belong to us
and to our children forever...
Deuteronomy 29:29

Funnel Web Spider
picture file from Wikimedia Commons

1 comment:

  1. beautiful...as always...your story...and pictures! i love it. spiders, jeweled webs...nature...life.
    all we have to do...is OPEN our eyes...and really SEE all that is around us. what wonder! you capture it all perfectly...with both words and pictures!

    ((and your comment on my post...i never realized the similarities of your part of the world...and mine! i've never been to washington...some day...i'd love to go there!))

    have a wonderful day! :] laura