Evening Architecture

An orb weaver spider who has taken up residence in the open area just outside my condo.  I’ve been watching it over the last week, and I am utterly amazed by what this industrious arachnid accomplishes on a daily basis.  (I’m not a real big fan of spiders overall, but this one’s pretty cool.)

Orb weavers are responsible for making those perfect Halloween webs, long spokes with spiraling threads woven in between.  They are one of the most common spiders, with 10,000 species that make up about 25% of all spiders worldwide.  They’re found everywhere on earth except the poles, and come in all shapes, sizes and colors.  (Mine is one of the boring brown yet disturbingly large ones.  I guess when you’re that big, fancy coloring be damned.)

Every evening just around dusk this 8-legged behemoth drops from the oak tree in the field and somehow catches enough wind to swing over to the far building to secure the first anchor line.  From there he attaches the other spoke lines and then spins away from the center until the evening’s intricate architecture is complete, seemingly suspended from nothing.  He hangs there all night, the dark shadow at the center of a barely perceptible net.

(Thankfully the spider has the good manners to spin over the field and not across the walkway.  The web is truly a work of art, but not one I care to unexpectedly wear when I come home at night. Eww..)

By the time I leave for work in the morning it’s gone, dismantled at dawn by it’s creator. Every web a one-night performance.  A fleeting installation of natural artistry.

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