This is a lesson we all should have learned from Charlotte's Web, isn't it? Somehow, I didn't. A couple of months ago, we noticed a spider in a web on the outside of our kitchen window. She and her web were very visible. We started saying hello to her when we got up in the morning, and later we wished her a good night. It seemed a smart place for her to have her web, near the patio light, which would draw nocturnal insects. It was a safe, sheltered place for a smart spider.
We named her Regina and identified her as a yellow and black garden spider. She has long, elegant legs and a wonderfully intricate pattern on her back. Garden spiders weave a distinctive zigzag runway in the middle of their webs, the purpose of which, so far, has not been determined. She was often busy in the morning, reweaving or revising, and checking her web. She was a source of pleasure for us.
Then she disappeared. We knew that that might happen. We mourned for her but were hopeful that she had just moved on. And then I noticed her in the corner of the patio, above a dying azalea. Delighted, we rejoiced. And then she disappeared. I sent our neighbors, the ones who share our patio wall, an e-mail. I told them we had lost our spider and she might be headed their way. They looked for her, but no luck. A few days later, Jack found her on the outside of the second story library window. Clearly, she was moving up in the world. And then she disappeared. A garden spider needs a real garden, doesn't she?
It's been about a week since we last saw her, and Jack has just found Regina again. She has a web behind a chair on the patio. Her reappearance has made my day, but she seems to be a nomadic spider, so I expect she'll disappear again.
Here's Regina. If you look closely, you can see her zigzag runway, just below her legs on the bottom right. She's an amazing creature. Isn't she beautiful?