Wednesday, January 11, 2012

My Little Garden Spider

Argiope aurantia
Winter comes with bitter sweetness.  For many, many months my breakfast companion has been this lovely little garden spider.  She has spun her web over and over again but, with the onset of winter her efforts have been less industrious.

In October , my spider spun an egg case under the light by the patio door.  It was like magic.  I went to bed that night and by morning, there it was, hanging like a little purse portending the future.  I can only imagine how fast she spun that cocoon of life.  It was roughly the size of a silver dollar.  As the day passed, it dried and shank by one third and there it hung while she resumed her post in the web.

One month later, another egg case arrived quite near the first one and again, she resumed her position in the web.  It was November and her web was becoming less intensive.  The zig-zag element of the structure was not nearly as robust.  Sometimes the top wasn't there at all and only the bottom portion of the zig-zag was made.  On other occassions, there was no zig-zag at all just an array of silk reminiscent of pulled cotton.  Just as I was worried about the onset of cold weather, my friend, spun one more egg case - also in the corner by the other two.  Now, it looked like a pre-cursor of Christmas...three little ornaments in the corner of my house.

A certain sadness crept over me as the winds started to whine.  Temperatures dropped and yet, my little spider remained in her web.  Then, the temperature dropped into the twenties for two days in a row and my spider was gone.  My friend of many months had simply disappeared.  She was no where to be seen.  On the fourth day I looked again on the bricks below her eroding web and I thought sure I saw her.  I went out onto the patio and sure enough....she was there in a little ball.  Now, I know it seems peculiar that a mature adult might feel so terrible but I decided I would bury her out of respect for her simple being.  Just as I picked her up, she moved.... could it be....was she still alive????  Indeed she was and my heart was glad.  I left her on the patio where I found her not knowing what the next day would bring but knowing that I had thanked her for her companionship and wished her well.

Ahhh  Next morning I awoke to find her back in her web facing my breakfast table and making my day one of delight.  It is January 11, 2012 and she is still with me for the time that has been given to her and hence, to me.  I have learned about beauty;  I have learned about spinnerts and spinning;  I have learned about egg cases and the quietude of companionship.  She has blessed my days and, come spring her offspring, will bless my days again.

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