By Trina Machacek
We find ourselves flowing into another season. It’s fall, autumn, post summer, pre-winter. So many things happen this time of year. Not that there are more or fewer things happening as compared to spring, but just different things. Like watching the leaves turn on the trees. Leaf peepers are out and about, especially on the eastern seaboard. But somewhat in every state. In Nevada up in the mountains as the freezing temperatures creep from the summits down to the lowlands the leaves on the trees give a grand show for anyone who is lucky enough to see them. But there is more to fall than leaves.
There is a mass movement that I’m betting most have not seen. And if you have noticed this happening you might not guess what you were actually seeing. As spring comes and goes and summer moves along all things in nature do the natural thing and that involves having families. Yes, it is not just the screaming cats in the alley that interrupt your sleep. It’s also the dogs and rabbits and horses and cows and spiders. Creepy crawly spiders. I must say here that I do not like spiders. Spiders and I have never become BFFs. All things considered, we never will. So that makes this story all the more creepy—or creepier!
Now just as a side note, if you are really paranoid of spiders you might not want to continue reading as once you learn the following knowledge you can’t un-know it and you will always be aware of what happens with spiders in the fall. Just a warning…
Okay spiders spin webs, we all know that. And in those webs, they catch bugs and sometimes wrap them up in web stuff to save them and eat them later. Yum. But there is another use of those webs. It is a way for the baby spiders to go out into the world and start their own families. And here is how that is done. Well, maybe not exactly how it is done as I am not an entomologist, just a gal that learned about flying spiders.
One of the first signs of fall outside can be seen early in the morning along the tops of the blades of grass on your lawn. You can see very fine spider webs that overnight spiders have spun. It kind of looks like a shimmering sea of tiny zip lines built for tiny spiders. Quite amazing really. But then as the days get cooler things get ramped up another notch and the baby spiders are kicked out of their spider homes and sent off. But how they move is remarkable—but creepy. Did I mention I think this is creepy?
They fly, on webs. Yes, they do. On a warm fall day if you are lucky enough to time it just right you can see this mass movement. You go outside and look up towards the sun. But not directly in the sun as you know the sun will melt your eyes. Just kind of up towards the sun and watch. Occasionally you might see a shimmering trail or a glob of webs flying through the air. You will think, “Wow kinda pretty.” You might see one or two but as you watch you will see more and more of them. Some will be really high and some you could grab out of the air. But don’t grab them because there are tiny little spiders attached to those webs. Flying to their new homes to make their lives and families. They fly, uh coach not first class, until the web catches on a tree or fence post or car antenna or clothesline or yes you! I bet you have at some time or another seen a web blowing in the wind caught on something. Now you know how and why they got there. Cool huh? But still—creepy.
So go out and enjoy fall and all it has to offer. Cider, hunting, raking leaves, migrating geese and the mass movement of tiny baby spiders. That should keep you up nights.
Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Really!