Beautiful Webs of Life

The Currant Farm is teaming with all manner of flora, fungi and fauna. One doesn’t have to venture far to find animals, predator and prey, mushrooms, delicious and deadly and herbs, culinary and medicinal.

The largest phyla are insects and arachnids. The family of arachnids are made up of 4 related but distinctly different main groups, spiders, scorpions, mites and ticks with many sub groups. One can find over 50 species of spiders here on the farm. We have everything from the benign, ubiquitous daddy long legs to the rare but highly toxic brown recluse.

In the early summer mornings when the sun peeks over the wildflower hill across from the farmhouse, the first rays of light catch the slivery webs of the grass spiders which are built anew every night to capture flying insects. Thousands of these entrapments, dew jeweled and sparkling dot the field, and ensnare both insects and my wondering mind. I imagine the artist assassin, lacing her delicate spider’s silk, 5 times stronger than steel, into a Baroque of functional art every evening as darkness consumes the last crumbs of day.

I have gone up into the woods, long after dark, with a cheesecloth bag of flour and a powerful spotlight on a quiet evening when everything is still, save for a mere breath of a breeze. I remove the cheesecloth satchel from its container, hold it high with my back to a sigh floating up from the hill and gently, slowly shake it to release the flour onto the breeze. The spectral cloud drifts gently over the branches and bushes draped in the translucent dark of night. When the wisps have vanished, I turn the spotlight on and the woods come alive in a fairy land of newly made webs now embellished with the snow white grains of flour highlighting every eloquent design. Large webs, small webs, round and ovate, each motive unique to the specie of the artist. It’s a show that takes stage most every summer night and yet few have ever witnessed this breath taking miracle. Within a very short time, the spotlight off, the inexhaustible sculptors begin to effortlessly recreate their masterpieces as happens when a sudden rain shower demolishes their snares.