From time to time, I walk up the stairs outside our home and have a look at the tattered remnant’s of Charlotte’s web. If you recall, Charlotte was our pet spider, a beautiful golden orb weaver spider who lived near a lamp next to our house. Golden orb weavers usually build webs in clusters, but Charlotte did not. She built her web in a secluded location. The three spiders that collectively built their webs in our front yard disappeared mysteriously earlier this year. Only one spider survived the entire summer and fall. That’s Charlotte, whom I named after the famous arachnid in the beloved children’s novel and blockbuster film.
Charlotte was a special spider. She withstood the hot summers, the balmy fall, and torrential pre-winter rains. Even with the insect population dwindling by the day as the cool weather took them, Charlotte survived. She must have lived at least five months, far longer than I’ve ever seen any spider survived. One day in late November, Charlotte disappeared, leaving her empty web behind (pictured, taken on December 24). I looked all over for her, hoping to find her, but she crawled away somewhere to rest in peace (I assume). I still have not found her, but I left her web intact in case she decides to return.
We had a special connection, Charlotte and I. Whenever a branch, leaf, or other debris became entangled in her web, I extracted it so she could rebuild it. I’m positive she understood and appreciated my help. She was one smart, hearty, beautiful spider. I, in turn, trusted her not to sink her fangs into me while I touched her web. I reckon that golden orb weaver bites are both painful and poisonous, so it took mutual understanding for us to work together to clear her web of offending debris. She couldn’t do it herself–she needed someone to help her. At the same time, she helped me by doing her part to control the insect population in our backyard by catching and devouring them. I enjoyed watching her fix her web. She would crawl into a corner, ponder how to fix it, and then start working again like a carpenter on a bungee cord. It was absolutely fascinating.
And now, only the web remains. It is cluttered and tattered, but I won’t remove the debris. That would tear it even further, and I cannot repair. I would rather leave as it was when Charlotte wandered away. I still hope every day that she will come back to fix her web once again.