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I try to be careful what I say to children. Careless words can unintentionally cause emotional scars that can last a long time.
My Mama was a good woman. Though she always felt, somehow, not good enough; she indeed was. Her unselfish deeds spoke of her goodness.
More than one time, as a young child, I had a well meaning adult say to me, 'Son, you have a good mama. Always be good to her. One day she will be gone, and any wrong you have done to her cannot be undone'.
Of the whole advice, the words that rang loudest in my head were, 'one day she will be gone'. Often, at night, I cried silently. I never knew at what time I would be told, 'Son, your mama is gone. She will never return'.
That was a heavy burden for a young child to bear, especially when it was borne all alone. I never told anyone of my fear. It was a devil on my back; and when it reared its ugly head, it kept me from being happy. Fortunately, that devil gave me periods of relief; and at some point, left me, permanently.
Some scarring can be minor and temporary. The adjective 'scar', may, in fact, be too strong a word. Case in point, my fear of a particular spider, the Argiope, commonly known as the writing spider.
It is said this spider is considered harmless to Humans; its venom causing no more problems in adults than a bee sting. That is not what I was told as a child!
(I question the word, 'harmless', particularly when it comes to children, and knowing there could be those with an unknown hypersensitivity to the venom of this spider. While there may be no cause for morbid fear, I would advise all against coming in contact with this spider).
We, and most of our neighbors, had gardens. They were always home to several writing spiders. With this spider being very active during the day, it was not uncommon to encounter a few during any visit to the garden.
The scary myth passed on to me by older children when I was about age five was, 'If the writing spider sees your teeth, it will write your name. And you will die'!
When venturing through a garden, not only were my lips tightly clenched together, the back of one hand was held over my mouth. I'll not give this killer a chance to see my teeth!
These spiders were just about everywhere. So, what about the times when I was talking or laughing, mouth wide open, only to turn and be faced with the biggest writing spider I had ever seen in my life?
Another night having trouble getting to sleep. Did he see my teeth? Is what they say true? Will I live to see tomorrow? Will I die in my sleep?
Surviving three or four nights of this hideous turmoil was enough to convince me these older children were full of malarkey and didn't know what they were talking about.
'Heck, I'm younger and I know better. Guess that makes me a little bit smarter than them'.
There are several species of Argiope. The one making its home in my back yard is Argiope aurantia. Pronounced ahr-JY-oh-pee aw-RAN-shee-uh
Unlike some animals, especially birds, where the male is usually larger and more brilliantly colored, the female Argiope aurantia outshines her mate, by far.
She is several times larger than her male counterpart. It is not uncommon for her to attain a size permitting her to eat lizards.
And while the much smaller male is clothed in nondescript shades of dull brown and grey, Nature has seen fit to garb the female with sharp blacks and browns; and a yellow so vivid, it will not go unnoticed by anyone in her proximity. And, upon close examination, one will see a dorsal patch resembling a rich copper patina.
This writing spider can be found in every state of the Union, including Alaska and Hawaii. It is considered beneficial in that its prey is usually insects which left unchecked could do much damage to the garden, e.g. grasshoppers, etc. We gardeners need to keep this spider. Don't worry, it won't attack you; but with its eight eyes, if you are around, it will know.
It could be said this is a frugal spider. After a day, her web is pretty much useless. Rather than dismantling and discarding, the web is usually eaten and rebuilt each day, with the exceptions of the periods around molting and egg-laying.
And clean? This beautiful spider goes to the toilette only at night; and leaves her web to do so!
Now, isn't that a nice Orb Weaver?
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This "beautiful" specimen was hanging outside our living room window. This is as close as I wanted to get! I had never seen this type of web either, the zigzag pattern.