Spiders Look Out


Early this morning Aki and I walked past the Basin Road Craftsman homes and crossed an old trestle bridge.  We reached the Perseverance Trail just as first light touched the side of Mt. Juneau. The air borne seeds of willows drifted like snowflakes over the trail. Now the little dog and I climb past red columbines in full flower. Those not yet exposed to the sun still glisten with dew.

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Where the sun has reached the plants, I can easily make out strands of spider silk. The strong morning light turns the strands into prisms that reflect all the colors of the rainbow. Inside the seed globe of a dandelion flower the being that spun out the silk hides. A smaller spider lies exposed in a web thrown between buttercup blooms.

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On our return trip we pass a group of young men and woman wearing hard hats. One is test starting an industrial weed whacker. They will spend the morning mowing down trailside plants. “Spare the red columbines,” I say, “they are important to the hummingbirds.” The gang’s leader promises that they will. I hope he keeps his word. In previous years trail crews have whacked the flowering plants down to the ground.  Whether or not they spare the flowers, it is going to be a hard day for spiders.

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