I… don’t have a photo that does her justice (for which some of you are probably very grateful), but I saw the biggest, most magnificent spider of my life today in the northeast window of the big barn today. I was midsentence talking to my sister and stopped dead and said holy shit look at that thing, and when I went over, my God, she was an orb-weaver, like Dolores– a spotted orb-weaver, neoscona crucifera, with the lovely tortoiseshell brownish-red legs and the abdomen, my God, this enormous gravid abdomen all in gray patterned like bark with the subtle cross pattern of spots, and she was, I mean, she was like, her leg span was about the length of my thumb, and her abdomen probably the size of my thumb’s first joint. She was enormous, she was magnificent, she was in the midst of wrapping up a fly, and her orb web very neatly covered the whole of the double window. Behind her was an untidy sheet of web inhabited by a giant grass spider, but she was larger still, this resplendent and fast-moving deadly graceful terrifying hulk of a beauty. I stood there dumbfounded, and then I tried to take a photo, which I’ll append behind a cut because not only is it not very good as a photo, it’s also a photo of a giant horrifying arachnid.
But she was– magnificent, and beautiful, and for all my big talk about Dolores, if something this vast and mighty had appeared in the yurt I would have
and left it for her because Jesus Christ that’s an enormous spider.
I warned my arachnophobe brother-in-law to avoid looking at that window or indeed passing by in that aisle, because I know he would Not Be Chill.
This beast. She must have been decades old*. Hoary, and wise. Absolutely identifiable as the spider from Charlotte’s Web. B-I-L mused that he’d seen some words in cobwebs lately, and I said, Oh, this one had words, but they were in Greek I think, and my Modern Greek’s passable but I suspect this was Ancient, and I honestly don’t know Ancient Greek at all…
____* to my knowledge, orb weavers of most types generally only live about 12 months.
Oh, related news: Dolores moved out while I was gone. I thought she was still there, but when I put the roof insulation in, the orb weaver in the roof ran out the roof hole, and I got a good look and it wasn’t her, it was a smaller female, so– I guess Dolores went outside to take her chances while I wasn’t around. I’m sorry she’s not there, but there’s a grass spider in my dresser drawer that I am NOT chill with and am going to evict. Let’s be real, I’d be cool if I didn’t wind up with any more spiders in the yurt this year… let’s also be real, that won’t happen, so I’d better prepare myself mentally.
CUT, BEHIND WHICH IS NOT VERY GOOD PHOTO OF GIANT SPIDER:
You can’t even tell. She was fucking enormous. I should go back out tomorrow with the real camera, I’m sure she’s still there, she’s clearly one of the Endless.
Look, though, when she’s folded up, she’s just all gray, but when she extends her legs, the hidden segments are reddish, mottled like tortoiseshell, translucent– I’d say beautiful if she weren’t a creature of horror.
I could handle Dolores. Dolores was like… respectable big, like body thumbnail size with legs about the same. This spider, though. You can’t tell from this photo, but realize the cream-colored line back there is electrical conduit, Romex, which is about half an inch wide, and she’s not much in front of it. And she was moving so fast.
I talk a good line about being chill with spiders but I am not. Holy fuck.