Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hours for Watching - Spiders

Spiders building webs and unbuilding webs"
When we go to the little summer house, we know we will be as close to nature as if we were living in a tent -- well actually, we do call it a "tent." We are not surprised to find a bird's nest in the book case or a squirrel peeping through the gable vent or even a spider web hanging in a doorway.

It has its charm. It has the Hours for Watching.

A year or so ago, a spider dropped down each day from the ceiling fan to a flowering plant in the center of the dining table. We watched her gentle movements every day for almost a week as we ate or read or played games around the big table. And then one day, visitors came and one of them said, "Oh, you have a spider!" and she quickly swept it away. We were dismayed. We did not see our spider again.

This year in June, another spider found the table. During the night, she built a large web from the lights to chairs to table. Although no one bothered her, somehow she knew when it was time and, each day, she drew in the web leaving none behind.

We found other spiders and other webs and marveled at their habits -- "How did it sail across that space?" -- and their patterns -- "Look at this design!" -- and their colors -- "What is that big black and yellow one writing?"

Watching spiders has been a family activity for many years and night-time spider hunts have quelled the arachnophobia of many a little cousin. Searching for those little reflecting green eyes with a flash-light placed just above the eyebrows makes it hard to remember to be scared. And finding a spider at the end of the flashlight's beam is too just exciting.

In July, Nature Friend magazine published my younger daughter's article "What Lives in Your Yard? How to Hunt for Spiders." I think it's appropriate that her very first published piece is about a tradition for the children (and adults) in our family. I'm proud of her work and delighted that we have had summers with hours for watching - spiders.

BushStrokes (c) AAB
iPhone photos BIG spiders


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