~Lizette Woodworth Reese
No wind, no bird. The river flames like brass.
On either side, smitten as with a spell
Of silence, brood the fields. In the deep grass,
Edging the dusty roads, lie as they fell
Handfuls of shriveled leaves from tree and bush.
But 'long the orchard fence and at the gate,
Thrusting their saffron torches through the hush,
Wild lilies blaze, and bees hum soon and late.
Rust-colored the tall straggling briar, not one
The spider sets its loom up there
Close to the roots,, and spins out in the sun
A silken web from twig to twig. The air
Is full of hot rank scents. Upon the hill
Drifts the noon's single cloud, white, glaring, still.
(I read this wonderful poem on Hildred's blog daybyday. If you haven't read Hildred, I think you should. She's the best! And, she's a weaver, too!)
So, here I am going over my quota of one picture per post, but.... Sometimes, we just change our mind about things.
My spider is gone! I knew yesterday morning when I saw that she had not eaten all of her web from the night before that something was awry. I was anxious for the night to come to see if she would be back, but, of course, she was not.
Illuminated by my flashlight, there gently fluttering in a late evening breeze, was half an abandoned orb. How hard she had worked, day after day, and night after night. She would weave her magnificent webs by night and take them down by day. I thought of how tenuous, at best, life is. Here today; gone tomorrow.
As I stood there looking and pondering on these things, a very small spider with very long legs, crawled up one of the non-sticky threads. Was it a young Golden Orb Weaver? And, even better, was it one of my, now lost, Orb Weaver's children? I would think so!
Later I googled , "Predators of Orb Weavers," and read, "Predators of Orb Weavers include several bird species and wasps of the family Sphecidae. The wasps land on the web, lure the spider to the perimeter by imitating a struggling insect's vibrations and then carry the spider away to be paralyzed and stored as live food for their young." I have no doubt that this Golden Orb Weaver was taking down her web when she was taken away, for exactly half is gone; the remaining half still perfectly shaped. I am amazed that the hummingbirds fly all around it, but never into it.
I read that the lifespan of a female Garden Orb Weaver is about twelve months. A female lays her eggs in late summer to autumn. The eggs are encased in a fluffy silken cocoon and attached to foliage. Toward the end of fall, the females will lay their last clutch of eggs, and then die at the first frost. Unless...
We are having some really hot August days. I don't go out without my hat, and Millie takes refuge wherever she can find a deep shade. The hummingbirds don't seem to mind the heat and have been coming by the droves to sip on cool sweet water and to feast on delightful late summer flowers. Keeping nine feeders cleaned and filled is a tremendous job. He-Who-Is-Wise gently reminded me that it's not a law that I have to feed the birds. But, I do. And I will. I love them!