Tales of Summer, Characters, Shapes, Textures, Colors: Part 2 - Unraveling Elusive Webs

unraveling spider webs
I have an aversion to anything that is smaller than my thumb, has more than two legs, and creeps, crawls, flies, or jumps - especially in an upside down position.
Aversion?
Ok, I'll come clean; fear is the appropriate word.
Thus, spiders top my list of dreaded creatures.
They use their "more than two legs" in ways that confirm any associated mystery or myth.
So, why am I up at sunrise, on those muggy and foggy Spring and Summer days, camera hanging around my neck, bending over the garden or park bushes, seeking my nemesis?

garden spider
Walking on bridges of water trapped in their silk spirals and highways.

Dealing with the Spirals of Fear

There are two reasons.
First, it is a form of homeopathy - facing that which I fear, in small doses, till some immunity or comfort level is achieved.
Simple enough.
Then, there is Sofi.
That is a bit more complicated.
I'll explain.
Sofi is a friend. Not one I have spend as much time with as I have shared a love for "our" music, adventure, and - to an extent - a life view. She is the type of friend everyone needs: objective, informed, accepting, forthcoming, genuine, and an astounding sounding board for ideas or mere ramblings.
And she loves spiders.
That is incentive enough to supply me with the courage I lack to go out there and get close to the creatures of my nightmares and their sticky spirals of entrapment.
And I did just that last year.
THE SEASONS IN FOCUS: SILK CARTWHEELS n' SHEETS IN MORNING DEW

Sofi was happy and I was elated at my newly discovered fearlessness.
Could it be that all spiders were as benevolent as the heroine of Charlotte's Web?


The Next Chapter: Discovery

Before writing a title or captioning an image, I set out to do some research. There were more eureka moments than I can recount: glands that produce silk, intricate meshing techniques, orbs, funnels - all for the simple purpose of securing a meal.  And I always thought that webs were a spider's home, albeit one with a built-in food collector!
How can a creature spend so much energy, resources, artistic expression, and precision to create something that will be abandoned in a few hours?
garden spider
Garden spider on morning patrol.
In my mind, orb-weaving was elevated to rocket science status!
I gained respect for the creator and her artistic output, with a tad of sympathy for its unsuspecting prey.
orb weavers
Orb weavers and their silky artwork.




caught in spider's web
The prey hanging by a silk thread.
water drops in spider web
Moisture trapped in a spiral.



orb weaver
spider and prey

spider web
Some are pretttier than others.
spider and web

Unraveling Invisible Threads, Elusive Webs, and Bravery

What becomes of these shiny, strong as steel, silk threads once the last morsel of their catch is consumed?
More rocket science at work, of course.
The spider usually consumes the web, thread by thread, in reverse motion, to replenish the silk deposits in her glands. That must be the tidiest, recycle-friendly, repurposed kitchen clean-up ever!
spider unspinning web
Reclaiming the silk.
unspinning the web
spider eating web



But it was while observing - in awe - the unraveling of the intricate mesh of silk threads that my bravery succumbed to the same fate. An unmistakable mark on my upper arm reminded me that familiarity breeds contempt. If it takes two to tango, my new "friend" did not want to dance.
I can take a hint!

The End: a note for Sofi

Take one long, last look.
Though I cherish our friendship, I'm returning to coneflowers, water drops, seagulls, sunsets, gates, trees, egrets, wasps even. There are 3400 recorded species of your pal in North America; I'll cease my exploration with these two.
No more spiders till I master
Arthropoda Behavior 101.