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ALONG CAME A SPIDER


A large spider clung tightly to her web

The morning was bright and cheerful and very few people were out when I went for a nature walk this morning. The green grass and the blue sky were inviting and the shimmering shaking of the golden aspen leaves were delightful. Everything was peaceful. It couldn’t be better. Nothing could go wrong in this kind of beauty.

And that was when I saw it. Out of the corner of my eye a slight flash of light. A warning. It instantly triggered hundreds of similar warning messages and memories. . . SPIDER. It was the white of the early October sunlight reflecting on a thin strand of web. But it was too late!

I already had broken the thread and shuddering I stepped back. Hesitating, I looked up wondering where the rest of the web was. Above my head and to the left wobbled a loosely hanging web, it wobbled and swayed as a bulbous red brown body clung for dear life in the center. Only a few moments had passed but the damage was done. The beautiful web had been destroyed by my carelessness and a large orb weaver’s world was rocked.

I held my breath until it stopped wobbling and then we both (the spider and me) let out a sigh of relief. From her perspective it must have been quite traumatic. She had caught more than she bargained for with me. When she had set up her web spanning two aspen trees, her goal was not to ruin my morning but to ensure that she would have food to eat the next day. Her goal was to survive and rid my life of annoying insects. I was the one who was out of line.



Spiders are incredible architects

These orb weavers survive because of their webs. Any damage done to their web can be risky to them. Why? For one, making the web takes lots of energy and most spiders will spend the whole night building these webs to catch their prey: flies, insects, and accident prone humans (just kidding). While many spiders are given a bad reputation for being “out to get us,” these spiders are really just trying to enjoy a peaceful life and stay out of our way.

Spiders are incredibly complex and beautiful arachnids (they are not insects). They have eight legs and two primary body parts instead of six legs and three body parts. What is fascinating about orb weaving spiders (like the poor spider I disturbed) is that they are technically ground dwelling animals that have figured out how to live and capture food that flies or is in the air! It is thanks to spiders that we don’t have infestations of many types of flies and insects. It is thanks to their hard work building webs and creating architecture overnight! Rome may not have been built in a day but a spiders intricate web was handmade in a night. Next time you see a spiders web, take a deep breath, look around for any slack lines that you may not have immediately noticed, and then lean in and check out her handiwork. There are some beautiful architects living right under our noses!

http://animals.howstuffworks.com/arachnids/spider5.ht

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The Havasi Wilderness Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to heightening awareness and appreciation of the natural environment.

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