1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Thunder Smitten: The Idea of This Garden-Life

Black-and-yellow Argiope aurantia

"Tell me," said the spider, "why do you garden? Why do you toil in the heat and bake yourself brown under the summer sun while countless others of your kind are cooling themselves in pools of water or at the beach or sit all day inside their offices and houses made artificially cold by large, noisy boxes? I have to be outside to catch small things that fly so that I can feed myself and my babies. They're coming soon, you know. And then I will die. As I sit here day after day, I notice that you don't have many mouths to feed. How will your species survive with so few young ones to work and gather food to feed you and take care of you when you're very old? I've heard (on the Web) that your kind lives for many moons, more than I care to imagine. So, why do you garden?"


The author needs great faith in his[her] reader's sympathy; else he[she] must hesitate to give details so minute, and incidents apparently so trifling, as are essential to make up the idea of this garden-life. It was the Eden of a thunder smitten Adam[Eve], who had fled for refuge thither out of the same dreary and perilous wilderness into which the original Adam was expelled. 

(from Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables).


Life cycle of Argiope aurantia: The female fills a spherical egg sac, up to 1" (25 mm) wide, with a tough, brown, papery cover. She attaches it to one side of the web close to her resting position and then dies. The eggs hatch in autumn; the young overwinter in the sac and then disperse in spring. The male builds a web in the outlying part of the female's web, making a white, zigzag band vertically across the middle.

This spider seems to prefer sunny sites with little or no wind. It drops to the ground and hides if disturbed.

(from The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders)


  1. These are one of my favorite spiders...their long black legs always remind me of ladies in black stockings. Lovely post

  2. Very neat spiders. I've not seen them yet this year but it is usually August I begin to notice their webs. I did not know the male makes the zigzag pattern. Wonder why?

  3. Yes, Claude, I can imagine them kicking up their heels (all eight of them!) to the tune of Itsy-Bitsy Spider. A rollicking version of it, of course.

    Tina, I guess we start things off earlier here than in other zones. I guess the zigzag thing is like a phone line from her to him signaling her readiness for some action? It makes me think of that hand signal people make for "call me." You know, the one with the thumb up, three fingers pointed to the wrist, and little finger sticking out?

  4. Beautiful creature. I like the idea of dropping to the ground and hiding when disturbed and will try it at my next opportunity.

  5. If only I were flexible enough to hide that well, Mr. Geo. I don't fold as easily as I used to, or I would try to hide too.

  6. Thanks for visiting my blog. I wish I was able to garden, but it's nearly an impossibility here in broiling,arid west Texas.

    My fears are few, but I am admittedly afraid of spiders (and scorpions)......

  7. I sometimes leave a zig-zag pattern for females. Unfortunately my T levels are so low, no females ever detect it. :(

  8. Ok I get the theme. Still I must fess up. Am not a big fan of spiders..

  9. I love this spider. I wrote a blog about it once. We had 3 generations at our house, but for some reason this year I can't find any. Wonder if it has to do with the weather.

  10. You're welcome, Mr. Jon. And thanks the same for stopping by. I don't know about your part of TX, but Claude is from the Lone Star State and seems to do quite well with prickly plants as well as random rants. I'm afraid of spiders too when they make their way inside the house, especially if they're very large!

    TC, you would be amazed at what females can pick up on, and I don't think T levels are as important as you are led to believe.

    TB, I don't get the theme, but I'm glad you do. And I'm only a fan of spiders when they're outside where they belong.

    Clementine, I remember that post! Maybe the spiders in your garden haven't yet found just the right spot to bring their young'uns into the world.

  11. What a coincidence--the blog post I read just before this also had a photo of this garden spider! I remember the first time I saw one of these; I thought it was so cool, especially the zigzaggy web. I haven't noticed any yet this year, but they seem to appear more often in the fall. My grandkids love to find them in the garden.

  12. Dear Walk2write,
    I come so late to read your interesting post because I am really busy in the web(site - the new one I get).
    I love Nathaniel Hawthorne - such a long time ago when we read almost everything of him because our professor was a fan (as of Emily Dickinson).
    I love spiders (except the poisonous hairy big ones) - your picture is beautiful!
    And yes: so many old people - not very many young ones (here in Berlin it is a bit better, because the young ones are attracted - in tiny towns so many people are old). Women have it very difficult today - they want understandably to follow their career (and they have to - in case of a divorce they get no money for a time of "only" (!!!) parenting. So I can understand them (and I have also followed my career, changing to part-time after the birth of our son - and, though paying hard for that in career-steps, I feel it is the best thing that could happen to us.

  13. What beautiful creatures these are. I really don’t mind having a full description of them and a story woven around them at the same time.

  14. Guess what..... We rented a cottage on Cedar Key in January. Having been there for one day a few years ago I thought it was my kind of place. :)

  15. I have never seen this kind of zigzag pattern. I wonder why it is.
    Sometimes cobwebs look so elaborate and painstaking that I hesitate to break them.

    Still lingering heat wave makes me feel lethargic. Don't work too hard, w2w.