We came home from a long vacation to find that a spider had built her web outside our back, sliding door. It's actually such a convenient and safe location that the girls have been studying the spider and her web at leisure for days. The web has made folding the laundry infinitely more entertaining. Even snacks and meals, which are usually fun enough, are better for the view of the spider.
We forgot about the spider and her web for a moment the other day and carelessly opened our back door all the way to enter and exit with groceries. How dare we! We swept the web right away! But thankfully, the spider started building again in the same spot within the hour and we could watch her build the web start to finish then. That was incredible.
She would just drop! free falling! and then she'd stop and stick the web to the window, like another radii of a great circle. Then she'd scramble up and move around the center, trailing new web behind her, stepping deftly on the chords she'd laid out. She was fast, indeed, and skilled, and made it look easy. But looking closer longer, I started to see she had to stretch from chord to chord and the wind blew and the web bounced under her weight and she had to strain and balance. It wasn't effortless. She even stopped and apparently rested halfway through her toil... She's as subject to the physical world and her body's limitations as I am, I realized. That's profound. After a long season of sickness, grief, and injury, the image of the spider bouncing, stretching, pulling her web over her web will minister to me.
Then, right as her new web was complete, a fly flew into it, and my daughters cried out and we saw the spider respond immediately, paralyzing and wrapping her prey within seconds! That was terrifying and disgusting. I can't help but think of Frodo and the helpless Hobbits when I see the little bug burritos on our spider's web.
The girls have also seen the spider eating her web, apparently, in order to reuse it perhaps?
They started looking for books we have on the home library shelves to confirm and/ or explain what they are seeing.
We haven't identified the spider yet, but of course, that's coming soon. For now, in my opinion, ignorance is bliss. It's nice to admire her without knowing whether she's actually poisonous and feeling any obligation to be responsible and get rid of her before she reproduces so close to our home. For now, she's marvelous.
I plan to ask Adele to use her observations and the content she's reading to put together a presentation on spiders for Foundations, but I'll wait until she says she can't think of anything to present on. And perhaps Avril can use this material in a science presentation for Challenge A when the right time comes. But for now, we're just marveling. That's the most valuable thing.