To a Spider, as Spring Comes

2 Mar

We watched you all summer, and into the fall. Spinning, catching, growing fatter as you feasted.

Daily nose prints marked the kitchen window as children checked your progress. Sage bushes went untrimmed so as not to disturb your glorious web, woven new every night.

If I woke early enough, I could watch you finish as I drank my coffee, double-weaving the center of your web.

Then one week, the web grew tattered. You remained enthroned in the center, but paid no mind to struggling bugs caught in the silk. You seemed withered, frail.

I scanned the garden — finally spying your magnum opus. Not white like your web,  but soft brown, an egg sack the size of a shooter marble blended into the corner of the brick where you’d secured it.   The promise of another spring, even as the first days of fall began.

I cringed at the realization of what that meant for you, though. I’ve read Charlotte’s Web, of course. 

So I braced the children for the inevitable.

And then, the next morning, your web was back to its pristine glory, your hapless prey once again mummified and drained at lightning speed.

Apparently, you were not yet finished. You remained the guardian of the garden, and would build two more egg sacks.

Then one morning, you were simply not there.

 So I trimmed back the sage, re-mulched the garden. We raked leaves, hung Christmas lights, and took them down again. Hunkered down for the season of long nights and short days.

But now, new leaves sprout on the Clematis vine. The lemon tree’s blooms draw bees to the back patio. Birds whistle their wake-up calls.

And this morning, as I sipped my coffee, I saw the faintest stirring.

In the sunlight this March morning, your egg sack has become nearly translucent, wiggling with the promise of baby spiders, and I am grateful.

For spiders. For spring. For hope in the most unexpected places.


9 Responses to “To a Spider, as Spring Comes”

  1. Vicki March 2, 2009 at 2:08 pm #

    Beautiful… and sad.
    I loved Charlotte’s Web.

  2. leahg March 2, 2009 at 3:33 pm #

    my dd thinks that’s the coolest spider ever. me… not so much.

  3. lettergirl March 2, 2009 at 3:37 pm #

    leah, she is spinning in the pic — you can see the thread running alongside her leg if you look really close. Or maybe I should say “if your daughter looks really close.” 😉

  4. Kathie March 3, 2009 at 1:49 am #

    I am a bad, bad person. There is a spider who keeps putting sacs full of babies between my window and storm window… I suck them up with the vacuum cleaner. I only do it when my daughter isn’t around because I’m trying to teach her to be nice to bugs, but the thought of hundreds of tiny spiders in my house freaks me the hell out.

  5. Elle March 3, 2009 at 7:49 am #

    Wow, I detest spiders, but that was really sweet. 🙂

  6. maria March 3, 2009 at 9:17 am #

    I’m a little freaked out by spiders myself, but have to admit that is a beautiful creature in that picture. I’m glad you’re experiencing signs of Spring–we’re stuck under a new pile of snow…

  7. canarygirl March 4, 2009 at 1:19 am #

    As phobic as I am of spiders, this was such a beautiful story. I never tire of reading your words, my friend.

  8. Jen March 4, 2009 at 6:37 pm #

    I too hate spiders, but that was a beautiful story.

    Now I feel really bad about beating that wolf spider, placing it in a plastic bag and taping it to the front door so that the bug man could tell me what it was. Well, maybe not that bad. LOL!

  9. ingrid March 6, 2009 at 10:00 am #

    Aw, that was a lovely story. I’m not afraid of spiders but I’m not certain I could have knowingly left it to make 100’s of babies.

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