The balcony spider

She wove her can­vas in front of the kitchen win­dow, brazen­ly on my bal­cony, anchor­ing her net on three con­crete blocks lying there for two seasons.

Motion­less all day long, it seems to me, but she must be mov­ing, because some­times she dis­ap­pears. Cats are walk­ing around, but she seems to pay no atten­tion to them. There was a lot of wind last week. It didn’t mat­ter. The spi­der has not lift­ed a sin­gle leg, well stowed despite the strong shak­ing. The whole thing held on.

I did my research. It is a cross spi­der. It only lives one year. The female is fer­tile for only four days. The males can approach her, but at their own risk and per­il, offer­ing the cov­et­ed female food to dis­tract her. How­ev­er, they are often eat­en once their repro­duc­tive work is done.

Fer­til­ized, the female lays her eggs in a cocoon placed in the hol­low of a tree or, as there are many in the neigh­bor­hood, in the com­post box. She does not sur­vive this work.

The insect is harm­less, but I must admit that the size of this spec­i­men is impres­sive. Could this be a sign of a par­tic­u­lar win­ter ? This is not the first spi­der like this one that I have seen since I live in this house, but it is the first time I have seen one this big ; it is a good three cen­time­ters long.

Its long web is also remark­able, all the more so because it usu­al­ly lasts only one day. The spi­der is reput­ed to rebuild its net every day. I doubt it for this one, because the web seems iden­ti­cal to me, some­times bro­ken, but repaired the next day.

In any case, the beast will dis­ap­pear, and one of its daugh­ters may come and rebuild its web in the same place next fall.

Every morn­ing, I make sure that the insect is present. Its time will pass, of course, like any­thing else.

Me too, every day, I try to reweave my can­vas, not as dili­gent­ly as the insect, of course. It is that I dream a lot, even with my eyes open, and dreams, as we know, do not like to be caught. Con­scious hours have noth­ing to do with cat-dreams. They weave, eat, cap­ture, devour, pre­pare their cocoon in the hope, no doubt, that some­thing will sur­vive from their ephemer­al mandala.