Out of Season

Saturdays, the Sci-Fi channel runs “b” movies, monster movies that are just as cheesy, as anything my parents might have grown up with, and while the monsters sport cgi blurs instead of zippers, at least the underbellies of tumbled trucks no longer read “Tonka.”

Today the theme is “vampires.” I love a good vampire story, but it's JULY – high summer â“ and vampire movies are best suited for dreary drizzly autumn and winter days, when your imagination works with the weather to turn windown leaves skittering across the pavement into the scratching of someone clawing their way from the grave.

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In one corner there is the mosquito, buzzing annoyingly, constantly being batted away from the tender flesh it seeks. In the other corner, a yellow and black argiope spider, beckoning from her zigzag web. What ensues is not a prize-fight, but a duel to the death.

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Web Spinner

“The difference between utility and utility plus beauty is the difference between telephone wires and the spider web.â — Edwin Way Teale

Writing Spider

I am the first to admit that my relationship with spiders goes beyond mere sqickishness to full-blown phobia, but even so, when this latest guest arrived in my back yard my first thought wasn't to kill it, but to identify it.

Rana helped me with that â“ it's a black and yellow argiope, an orb-weaver also known as a “writing spider,â and I can't help but wonder if she's here to remind me to write more and angst less.

In any case, research has told me that she'll likely stick around as long as we let her, feasting on ants and mosquitoes, and that she isn't venomous. And yes, she IS a she, the males are apparently tiny.

Legend says that if a name is written in such a spider's web, the person so named will die, but so far, all she's spelled is ZZZZZZZZ. Perhaps this is a reference to the sound of buzzing insects? We can only hope.

It should be noted that I took this picture from about seven feet away. Getting closer would have required stepping on an ant hill, and I'm not inclined to do that. We will, however, attempt some night shots so the flash will illuminate the rest of the web.

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