Reading with Spiders – and the World Wide Web

Today was a beautiful autumn morning, clear blue sky, dew on the grass, so I took my kindle into the garden and sat in the sun, reading. It was a good book, The Crown, by Nancy Bilyeau, and I’m recovering from a cold and feeling sorry for myself, so it seemed like the perfect convalescence.

But then I made a marvelous discovery. You know those very small, delicate spiders’ webs that you see in the woods and fields if you go for a walk on a day like this? They’re beautiful – sparkling with dew on the grasses and bushes and trees in the early morning. I’ve often walked straight into them at head height, long thin filaments strung across a woodland path about six feet above the ground, between one tree and another. And I’ve wondered – how one earth did the spiders do that? I mean, these creatures are tiny, no bigger than ants, and they don’t have wings, so how ….?

Well, now I know the answer. As I was sitting there, reading my kindle, I noticed these spiders’ webs all around me; on the grass, on the garden fence, even on the chair next to me. In the morning sun, the air was buzzing with insects. From time to time I brushed things off the kindle, or off my face. And then I realized.

I was sitting on one of these long swing seats for three people, which rock comfortably back and forth, and there were long filaments stretching from one end of the seat frame to the other – right in front of my face! They couldn’t have been there before, or I would have broken through them when I sat down. There was a little web beside my head, in one of which a tiny spider was staring hopefully at a trapped wasp, twenty times its size. (The wasp escaped) And every minute or so a new filament appeared, stretching from my baseball cap to my knees, or to the kindle in my hands. These tiny creatures were busily building webs all around me while I was reading!

But how did they get there? I watched for a while and worked out the answer. There was a gentle breeze drifting towards me across the garden, and in the sunlight I saw things floating in the air – long thin filaments of silk, hanging there vertically, drifting through the air. And clinging onto each thread was a tiny spider! These little guys don’t have wings, but they spin their own parachutes, and fly. Then when they land on something, they spin a new web.

And this morning, they were landing on me. The longer I sat there, the more cocooned I became in filaments of silk. The only way to keep on reading, was to brush the webs away from my face. But I didn’t want to move, because I was enjoying the book.

All of which is a tribute, I suppose, to the writing skills of Nancy Bilyeau! And to the spiders, who also have a world wide web!

They are so fine you can’t see them, unfortunately. But they are there!

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7 Responses to Reading with Spiders – and the World Wide Web

  1. Jenny Bassett says:

    How magical! There’s a story in that sunlit spidery experience … A mystery, a crime, even a murder, that only Sarah Newby can solve. Title (obviously) ‘The Silk’. Outside my log cabin window right now is a big and intricate heavy duty web, secured by cable webs to each side of the window frame. In the middle of the web sits one of those big hunting spiders, fat stripey body and hairy legs that scuttle about horribly fast. Am deeply grateful for the window pane between me and that miniature Shelob …

  2. Tim Vicary says:

    That does sound scarey! But these guys are little elves; so tiny you hardly notice them, until minilegs scurry down your face …

  3. marlamadison says:

    Beautifully said, Tim! You really made us feel like we were on that bench, feeling the same things you experienced.
    Hope you’re over your cold!

  4. Teri Heyer says:

    Tim, what a wonderful post. Here in Florida we have lots of spiders of every shape and size. When I sit out on the patio to read on my kindle, there are little black hop-spiders that come to visit. I’m forever brushing them off. I swear they want to see what I’m reading.

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