There had been a quick run to the grocer’s that day. We are so lucky with our local supermarket. The produce is neatly stacked in an attractive arrangement, reflected by mirrors to help us to choose the very best head of cauliflower or the perfect pepper. Our very small town store is well stocked, clean and the staff friendly. We love going there.
Coming back home, we make the turn onto our street, passing good neighbor Mickey’s house and lovely garden, and approach our abode with Penn State flag flapping in the wind. We hit the automatic garage door opener remote located in a handy holder on the ceiling of the car between the front seats, always at exactly the same location each time, when we get to the next door neighbor’s driveway, that will allow the door to be fully open as we pull the gas guzzler into the bay. But as we pass by, it is noticed that there is something in the barberry bushes that is out of place. The brakes are applied for a closer inspection. Has some litter floated through the air and caught on the thorny bushes? It almost appears to be a cottony substance. After putting away the comestibles, we go outside to check it out. Then we go right back in the house for the camera.
It is early in the morning, and foggy. The weather forecast was predicting torrential rains to come around noon or before so we were one of the first customers at the grocery when it opened, not wanting to get drenched while loading our purchases into the rear of the SUV. It was so dark that the flash on the camera demanded to be used. Sometimes moisture, whether frozen or not will photograph better with the flash so a couple of shots were taken using it. This was not litter in the shrubbery, it was little spider web hammocks. They were all over. They were perfectly constructed, attached to the dense branches of the Berberis thunbergii ‘Rose Glow’, glistening with liquid fog. They were spell binding.
There has been only one type of arachnid seen this year. It is not known if this is the thread weaver or if it was another. We do know that as gardening chores are slowly being eased back into the daily routine, there has been the slightest movement felt across our face, like a stray hair. We try to brush it away, but with mud packed gloved hands, it is not always a success. Later in the evening, as we peer into the mirror as the bedtime tooth brushing ritual is carried out, one more little red mark is seen at the site of the tiptoeing, a bite on the cheek, the third such mark this month. Is someone hitchhiking a ride on my hair and taking revenge as we try to give them the brush off? It is a good thing we are not afraid of spiders, snakes, yes, spiders, no. But really, biting is totally uncalled for, even if you do add the most delightful accoutrements to the plants growing here.
Added: It has been determined that the biter(s) are some kind of vampire gnats, but the story flows better with the thought of it being the spider. Poetic license and all that jazz. ~The Editor