Summer Charlotte

*7/30-Hey blog family.  Sorry I haven’t posted much content lately.  Honestly, social media in the age of Trump has just really taken a toll on my desire to blog.  It’s weird…the more irritated I get by the cutthroat, Dunning Kruger attitude of hardcore Trumpers, and the more I engage in arguments on FB, the less energy I have for the longer , thought out, research supported arguments on the blog. Really, I can’t wait until this Drumpster Fire is extinguished and I can go back to blogging fiction and FB posting about my cats.

So for tonight, I started to post this as a FB blurb, but then thought I’d share on the blog instead…and now you can see it developed a life of its own, as my posts usually do.   But anyway, instead of more venting and frustration, here’s just a little something that has brought me bit of joy this past week.   (And I know not everyone would agree with my assessment of this circumstance as “joyful,” but here goes…)

For the past seven nights, the highlight of having to take Malachi outside to pee has been this big brown orb weaver camping out by my driveway.  (Attempts to capture her on digital camera were inadequate, but there should be a certain entertainment value in seeing a short, pajama clad woman taking flash pics of spiders at midnight.)  Anyhoo, she sets up shop in the same spot on the east corner of my house, after it’s dark, and then patiently sits in the middle (looking like she is hanging in thin air) to catch dinner. And every morning her web and any trace of her is gone.  She deconstructs and eats the old web sometime before day…and creates a new web each night, where she patiently sits like a giant, scary, patient, amazing work of art.


Garth Williams‘ illustration from E.B. White‘s book, Charlotte’s web, a classic tale.

I know.  Spiders… not so magical to most people.  Big “nope” to most.   They’d squish one as soon as look at it. Well, I hate killing things for no reason.  When I find spiders in the house, unless they are venomous, I usually catch and release, or in the case of the teeny, tiny ones, ignore them until they go away.  Plus, “Charlotte‘s” outside.  Don’t get me wrong.  I wouldn’t want to share a bed with her, or anything.  But she stays in her spot, and I appreciate the creepy-crawly, ginormous miracle of nature she and her web are (“a given weight of spider silk is five times as strong as the same weight of steel” (source)) from a safe distance of several feet away on the sidewalk.  We don’t bother one another, and I actually look for her in her customary place when I take the dog out after dark.  And part of me is even a bit sad knowing that, like her namesake,  one day she won’t be there.

*Update: 8/7

She’s still there, just as big and beautiful.  She was even out there last night in the rain, scurrying down the web.  Twice, I saw what looked like a smaller, less bulbous version of her up in a corner.  Male visitor perhaps?  Wonder if she ate him after she was done with him.  Spider version of Netflix and Chill? lol

*Update 8/14

Well, Charlotte is entertaining more guests in her web tonight.  The male kind I think, not the food kind…At least, that was my interpretation of it. SO naturally then I had to Google what was essentially spider sex (click it, you know you wanna) and confirmed.

Sure enough, Char has her own little Garden Spider Dating Service going on out there.  She’s set up a little Pheromone Tindr profile and luring males in to vie for her attentions.

 Male spiders are generally much smaller than females in their species, making them easy prey. The male has to signal to the female that it is a spider of the same species, not food or a potential predator, and that it intends to copulate.

Once the female recognizes the male’s courtship behavior, she will position herself for sex, signaling to the male that she is receptive, or she will make it clear that she is not receptive. If the male is desperate to mate, because all the females in the area will soon lay their eggs, he may proceed anyway, with full understanding that the female might kill him.

Both the male and female reproductive organs are at the rear of the abdomen, but spiders don’t mate by coupling these organs. Instead, the male deposits some sperm onto a small web and picks it up on the end of his pedipalps. When the female is in position, the male deposits the sperm in the female’s genital opening. The female stores the sperm in receptacles near the ovaries. When she is ready to lay her eggs, months down the road in some species, she uses the sperm to fertilize them.

Well…turns out spider sex sounds kinda disappointing for all parties involved.

Anyway, I’m glad to see her still out there strutting her spider stuff or looking for dinner or whatever it is she’s doing.  I think I may have gotten attached to her.

Final Update:  The last night I saw Charlotte was the last night I ever saw her.  I don’t know if she moved on or if she had her eggs and died, or what, but I’m glad we got to share a tiny corner of the planet for a couple weeks, because nature really is amazing, even scary nature ❤

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