Time to get back in the groove. As you know I took some time off to grieve. As I briefly mentioned the other day, thank you one and all for all your kind words.
I thought I’d jump back into blogging today by talking about drama. Where I live surrounded by wild, millions of life and death moments occur every single day. Nature is absolutely filled with drama. The drama comes in layers. We mostly understand it as the “food chain”. Little fish eat small bits of detritus > larger fish eat little fish > giant fish eat large fish > we go to fish boils and fish fries.
One of the most amazing things to see happens on September mornings after a cool night settles a blanket of fog over the landscape. An early morning drive or walk will allow you to see dewdrops sparkling like several billion diamonds in the first rays of sunlight. That sparkle is on everything and it’ll take your breath sometimes. I feel the same way about hoarfrost– the frozen version of this wonder. Simply breathtaking.
The drama I refer to today comes dressed in silk –spider silk. In the fields of prairie around me, spiders of all kinds build webs particular to their species. These webs cover the grass high and low, in some places less than a foot apart from one another. What must it be like to be a moth or fly just trying to get from here to there? Life and death drama. There are low webs built like funnels, fine strings without any discernible form, flat trampolines that hover over the grass, and orbs…many many orbs. I just love the orb weavers. Their stunning artworks sparkle until the sun burns away the dew.
I may have mentioned the orb weaver that came into my kitchen one night and made an enormous orb web that went from my kitchen table to the chair, to the ceiling fan overhead. The spider was a yellow and black beauty about the size of a quarter. My husband wasn’t happy..you might even say he was horrified. The kids and I found it amazing. After three days of watching this marvelous creature capture mosquitoes, Asian beetles, a yellow jacket wasp, and the occasional fly, he said enough was enough. If I didn’t get the spider out of the house he would. lol
I haven’t had another orb weaver since, but I do let a few spiders stay in the house until those nasty stinking Asian beetles are done trying to get inside. True lady bugs come in the spring and just see to their own business. Those late season ladybug mimics bite. To me, spiders provide a necessary service indoors. To my husband they belong outside doing it. I say the day the Asian beetles stop getting in the house to bite me is the day I stop being a spider landlord. He loves me because of and despite my eccentricities. 😀
There once was a woman of Lydia, a weaver of no small skill, whose artistic talent for making tapestries became known far and wide. As the story goes, mortals often fall victim when given copious praise –the pleasure found in compliments often turns their heads toward arrogance. Before long, Arachne became boastful. The more she bragged, the larger the boasts became. Then one day she made the largest of all by saying her skills surpassed even those of the goddess of weaving herself — Athena.
Catching word of this self-aggrandizing mortal, Athena disguised herself as an old woman and went to meet Arachne. She warned the weaver of making such boastful claims, for no mortal could possibly surpass the craft of the goddess. She also warned of provoking the wrath of the gods. Bolstered by years of praise and deeply arrogant, Arachne was unconcerned and went so far as to openly challenge the goddess to a weaving competition.
More than a little irritated, Athena revealed her true self. You might think at this point that Arachne would beg forgiveness, but no. The roots of arrogance were too deep. So goddess and mortal sat side by side at their looms and each plied their skill. Athena’s tapestry of golden threads lavishly depicted scenes from the history of the gods and the glowing adoration of the mortals below. Arachne’s tapestry, no less stunning, depicted the baser nature of the gods, highlighting their worst interactions with the people of earth. Of course this slight would not go unpunished.
While Arachne’s chosen subject matter was sheer mockery of the gods on Mount Olympus, Athena conceded the woman’s skill was apparent. In the blink of an eye, the goddess transformed Arachne into a spider to allow her to continue weaving.
Spiders are known as arachnids.
For 100 days, I’ll post something from my chosen topic: Clichés.
There are 49 entries to come.
Here’s a cliché for today:
What a tangled web we weave
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What a lovely post, Rose. I’m so glad you’re getting back in the groove. I hope your broken heart is mending. Maybe a nice woven patch. *hugs*
A bit, yes. We never really get over death. We just become resigned to the absence. For a week after I “heard” her walking across the floor. I’m still saying dogs in plural. Time will weave me a patch.
I’d never heard of all these different kinds of webs in the fields. It must look beautiful. Glad to have you back!
Thanks, Jane. It’s been an emotional time but yes, time to get back in the saddle.
When the angle of the sun is just right, the number of webs you can see is rather jaw-dropping. The other day a neighbor brought over a spider for me to identify (why me? Long story). It was white with black bands on its red legs. It was a marbled orb weaver. I had never seen one of those before nose to nose. Only in books.
I’ve always loved the story. Greek myths were attempts to explain nature. Charlotte’s Web is still my favorite spider book. My older son and I read it together. He was afraid of insects as a child. So whenever we saw a spider in the house, my husband would say, “It’s only Charlotte.” It calmed his fear.
Oh that’s a sweet story. 🙂
What an excellent blog. Yesterday I was part of a Facebook discussion with someone who hates spiders and was bitten by a scorpion. My wife and I both like spiders for the reason you mention in this blog. Either last year or the summer before that I watched a spider spin its web. I kept watching until a carpenter bee tried to attack the spider only to get wrapped in a cocoon spun by the spider. The capture was so fast it was hard to follow. There was a bee, then there was a cocoon.
I had not heard of Arachne, but one of my favorite authors had a character who was an assassan whose nickname was Aarńa. Because of a new publisher the character never appeared again. She was one of my favorite characters. She turned out to be one of the good guys.
Arańa. Sorry for the misspelling. It’s what happens when trying to insert a letter in the middle.
I love letting some spiders into the house… not too many and not too big but you are right about their usefulness. I loved the story of how Spiders got their name. I used to share it with my students a long long time ago.
🙂 My husband says they make the house look abandoned. lol
Lovely story about the spider, Rose. Good spiders have their uses, but be careful if you come across a Recluse (I think that’s the name). It’s a brown spider and very poisonous.
Also, I love anything about Greek Mythology.
Thanks, Sandy. We have those out here. I friend got bit on the leg and she said the sore it left behind was terrible. She’s stubborn but her sister insisted she go to the hospital. They fixed her up. She still has a scar.
What I love most in your blog posts is the awe and reverence you have for mother earth and nature. The glittering spiderwebs early in the morning is a special a gift for those who see them.
When I read about the spider weaving you a magnificent tapestry in your kitchen, I saw it as a thank you gift just for you ~ and a nudge to write! The spider is all about creativity and story spinning as well.
I’d never tied arachnids with the Arachne myth before, so that was a fun aha! moment. So glad you back!
Thank you, Gemma. My husband did not appreciate the spider gift. He likes them outside. You should have seen the look he gave me the day I brought a tarantula home. I am fortunate indeed to live where I do. Oh the things I’ve seen. Talk about writing prompts. 🙂