Another Day in the Country
Coming along for the ride
© Another Day in the Country
You’ve gotta see this,” my daughter said as we looped our way through twists and turns on a road to Santa Rosa. “When we stop, remind me to show you the spider on the car door. I first noticed her the other day. She’s guarding her eggs that she laid just below the door handle on the car.”
“Well, this must have been quite a ride that she hadn’t anticipated,” I said.
These curvy roads that are the only way to get over hills between Napa Valley and Santa Rosa can really make a person carsick!
We were imagining the wind force on the spider as we sped along. Surely this wasn’t something she’d anticipated when she chose this site to lay her eggs.
She had thought about camouflage — a tiny container of eggs that looks like a piece of fluffy, white, tied-down cotton on a white car.
Of course, I had to take a picture. It was difficult to get a really good photo and know just how small she was.
“Put your finger down beside her,” I coaxed my grandson.
He was reluctant. If this spider was fierce enough to a withstand 65 mph gale riding on a moving vehicle, what might she do if a finger got too close?
We “oohed” and “ahhed” about the fierce protectiveness of motherhood and then pretty much forgot about the spider with her egg sack glued to the door of the Jeep.
That is, until I came out of the library a few days later and went to open the driver’s side door. There stood this tiny fierce spider AWAY from the egg sack and up on four legs. Her body was casting a very small shadow on the eggs.
I’d parked so that the afternoon sun was shining directly on the side of the door. Mrs. Spider couldn’t have that! The kids might cook!
In Kansas, I’ve sometimes seen insects clinging to cars as I drive. Grasshoppers might be flying through the air one minute, then find themselves impacted by a vehicle, then they hold on for dear life, often being swept away by the force of the wind.
Horseflies seem to be enamored with the Lincoln that I call “the grandma car.”
They’ll buzz around the windshield obsessively, flirting with their reflection. I’ve had them follow the car, holding onto the windshield wipers with all their legs while I’m driving all the way to Herington and back again.
What makes them be so tenacious? I haven’t a clue. The car certainly isn’t new and shiny. Are this their idea of courtship? It’s like a mouse scampering around an elephant. Strange behavior.
I had a Honda once with shiny hubcaps, and one day I discovered a blue jay flying at the hubcap so ferociously that it left marks. He was fighting with his own reflection.
I suppose a reflection must be a confounding thing to a bird without the brainpower to figure out things like windows, mirrors, and shiny hubcaps.
On the other hand, I’ve fought at times with my own reflection, and humans are supposed to have superior brainpower.
Sometimes our kids or our mates reflect things back to us that we don’t like to see at all, and we can throw up quite a fuss.
As I look back on my life, I can remember times when I chased after things just as inappropriately as a horsefly chasing after a Lincoln Town Car — things and people that were completely out of my league.
And whenever I think of that little spider guarding her egg sack, I can relate to her tenacity, her fierce protectiveness, her dream for the next generation.
She chose the best she could — a white hard surface for a tiny white egg sack. How was she to know that it would constantly change position and go hurtling through space?
She’s also standing by her decision and hoping against all odds that it will be a wise choice that she made. After all, what could be more durable than the door panel of a new Jeep Cherokee?
I, too, made a choice with my offspring years ago, planting them as close to the country as I could get in California.
It was a good choice I made when I chose to stay for 30 years, and here we are, three generations living and thriving, in the very same spot where my kids began!
Maybe Mrs. Spider also will live long enough, be so lucky as I am, to see her kids spending another day in the country.
Spectator Chuck Seifert was misidentified as Chuck McLinden in a story about county taxes last week.