Sarah Coles



In the garden’s early morning, golden wires lead to heaven. Iridescent webs shimmer.    Single leaves spin mid-air, hung suspended from invisible lines. Chief spider is Araneus diadematus – its diadem is a cross shaped filigree pattern on its abdomen – you can just see it here.  The web is sticky, hung with eviscerated tiny flies, and the threads which hold it to bushes, trees or buildings and along which it abseils down to a corner are not.

Why on television and books people do get so excited and partisan, taking sides with prey or attacker, the eater or the eaten as if in a football match?   Even the Oxford Book of Invertebrates writes about the spider rushing to poison its ‘unfortunate’ victim, and about spiders trapped in the bath ‘until found by the horrified housewife.’  It’s all part of life’s cycle.  Life feeds on life.  It always has.  It’s intrinsic.  All of us are attacker, and victim, like the fantastic squirming creatures in the Lindisfarne Gospels which eat their own tails.

Araneus is getting fatter by the day, spinning webs, catching wasps and insects.  These it eviscerates,  leaving their husks still adhering to the webs.  Inadvertently it catches white wispy feathers and minute winged seeds.

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