It's a beautiful day--85 degrees, low humidity--but I was outside grumbling anyway because I walked to my mailbox and there was nothing in it. It wasn't the lack of mail that I minded; it was the 1,000 foot walk to the box. My foot hurts, so I begrudged the trudge.
Distance. 500 feet there; 500 feet back. It felt like it was taking forever. So I stopped for a moment to take a look at the sky. It's bright blue today, with only a few fluffy little clouds. Yesterday was the Autumnal Equinox so fall has officially arrived.....even if our leaves won't change here in Mississippi until Thanksgiving. While I was looking up, I noticed an uncommonly thick silvery spider's thread high above the driveway, maybe 12 feet high, and it reached an astounding length.
Distance. The thread went straight from the branch of a tallow tree to the electrical wire, about 15 feet away, and from the wire to the branches of a blueberry, another 15 feet. The threads were long, not supported by anything but the trees and the underside of the wire. How did the spider manage it? It was a stunning achievement--no human bridge-builder could have accomplished such.
High up, near the top of the blueberry, I could just see her: an argiope. A most beautiful creature, yellow and black and white, swaying in the breeze. I couldn't see the web, though, so I walked on to take a look from the other side and there is was: bright golden in the sun and 3 feet in diameter. Most often, argiopes spin silvery webs but only rarely have I seen gold and once a brilliant copper one. I don't know enough about spiders to understand what makes the difference in color.
Distance. Most people don't care for spiders, so they like to stay far from them. I don't mind so much, having been brought up on the notion that people of Scots ancestry do not kill spiders in honor of Robert the Bruce's inspirational arachnid. Spiders don't trouble me, although I don't care to touch them and I give huge hairy wolf spiders a trip out of the house right away. No, I don't kill them; I capture and release--I offer the same courtesy to wasps. But roaches and ants won't find welcome here.
Distance. Golden garden spiders are estival so, with the coming of the Equinox, time is short for the argiope who built the amazing web I saw this afternoon. She didn't count the cost of distance when she built the astonishing bridge to her web, and she probably doesn't count the days either. She simply did what spiders do in the best way she had.
If I had sold anything on eBay today, I would have driven to the Post Office and stopped at my mailbox in the car. If my foot hadn't been a bother, I would have walked right to the door not bothering to look at the sky. If I hadn't learned to respect spiders, I might have missed taking time to enjoy seeing the argiope and her web. It's all a matter of happenstance and tiny distances. I'm truly grateful for the little things that provided the opportunity to visit with the spider who reminded me to do my best, too, even if no one is ever likely to notice. Autumn comes quickly, and winter is close behind.