The Garden Spider

Reader Contribution by Sherry Leverich Tucker
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There is a new garden spider this year within a corner of the chimney and the hydrangea on the north side of the house. The boys spied it the other day. They know just what this beautifully marked, large, black, yellow and white spider loves to eat, and they are driven to feed to it and enjoy a free show. This show is one of terror and suspense, quickness and intent. Grasshoppers make a good meal for the giant garden spider. The children hunt and catch grasshoppers by sneaking behind them and grabbing their jumping legs. Too big of a grasshopper will jump out of the web but too small will not wiggle enough, making for a dull show. They will find a grasshopper just the right size. Everyone comes close. Gently the captor tosses the hapless grasshopper into the web of the garden spider. This act is a little intimidating and sometimes startling; perhaps this is a very quick spider that immediately attacks any movement on the strings. Hopefully the grasshopper does indeed get stuck in the web and doesn’t either jump free or fall from the web, leaving the audience booing and hissing and racing to find another grasshopper to play the part of the prey. A perfect scene is one where the grasshopper naturally jumps into the web and as it struggles the spider is alerted and immediately plunges onto the grasshopper and twirls it within its delicate legs while spinning its perfect white silk, encompassing the prey with its straight jacket. Watching the spider do this with such skill leaves the viewer in aw, not only of speed and accuracy of its enveloping silk, but also the beauty and necessity of it’s intricate web that was earlier spun into a perfect net for catching its meal. The spider then sends the grasshopper into a deep sleep with a poison filled bite. This acrobat does all of this while holding itself onto the delicate web with just a couple of its long, thin legs. Later the spider will dine on its fresh catch. Thank you, garden spider, for generations of entertainment.