Jet Streams and Spider Webs

a jetWe were driving from Chelsea, Oklahoma to Claremore, Oklahoma, about a 20 minute trip. The sky was filled with jet streams all around us. None of us had ever seen such a sight. It was my daughter and her 2 children and I. The sky was crystal clear and a glorious shade of blue. There was not a cloud in sight. The jets were crossing each others paths and there were 17 of them in the sky. The streams they left behind made a web-work of Xes and crosses and was spectacular.

From the ground it appeared that they would collide, but up where they were there was ample distance between them. They weren’t actually even coming close to one another. It was only their streams that overlapped. file000526139669Traffic on that stretch of highway normally runs 60-70 MPH. Most drivers go at the speed limit or slightly over, but not that day.Everyone was going 25-40 MPH. Some even pulled over and stopped to watch. Many were holding their cell phones and other gadgets out their windows capturing the event with pictures and videos. In 60 years of memories I could recall few such awe inspiring sights.

A few weeks later we were home in a wicked thunderstorm. We have a huge yard filled with native and paper shell pecan trees which attract squirrels, and birds, and lots of varieties of spiders. We keep cedar around the base of the house to deter the spiders entry This storm ran 2 very large garden spiders up onto the back porch. We watched as they made their way up the back wall and to the ceiling and began to spin their webs. The mist from the rain blew in and hung in the web-work and I was reminded of the jet streams. It was as mist hanging in a magical lace tapestry. The spiders were brown and not very pretty. One was bigger than the other, but they were both huge. We identified them from images off the internet as nonpoisonous garden variety specimens.

Their web-work was beautiful and intricate and within days it ran to the support posts and covered the back half of the porch. My grandchildren freed pretty moths and grasshoppers and locust from their clutches. They left them gnats and flies. After a week or so we realized this was a mated pair as we identified what appeared to be an egg sack similar to the one shown on the movie “Charlotte’s Web.”  Research told us that dozens. as many as 100 tiny spiders could hatch from a sack of this size.

We had grown attached to what we now called Zach and Amy and could not destroy them, so we moved them out to our detached garage which sets a good distance from our house. We climbed a ladder to attach the egg sack without touching it directly. We placed it  above the garage window and then we set them free beside it. We vacuumed all the webs up off the porch hoping to remove the temptation to return. There were actually more  live food items in the garage for them than on the back porch and they stayed. Within a hour they had created a new web .

We never used the garage for anything other than a home for Johnny one of our dogs. So they built a massive web construction across 3/4 of the ceiling. We were never sure how many babies hatched. The last time we saw Amy she had come down and was headed around the back side of the garage with her back mounded high with babies and a few chasing after and jumping on. Zach stayed around for about 3 weeks and then one day he too was gone.

Realistically there is little comparison to a jet stream and a garden spider’s web. but try to tell that to the human heart.

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