The beauty of a spider web: overcoming prejudice

Even arachnophobes can admire the architecture of an orb web. However, I feel averse to other kinds of spider webs so much that I hardly ever look at them. I’ve seen sheet webs lying in a meadow on a dewy morning and steered far around them without a second thought. My guess is many people feel the same way, particularly photographers. It’s relatively hard to find good images of the other kinds of spider web online.

Walking this morning, I would have passed this web instinctively. The sight of a wet web in a yew hedge beside the path was repugnant. But with camera in hand, those glistening droplets pricked my conscience: “Just stop!”

I drew nearer. My perspective quickly changed. The macro lens revealed something that defies description.

I hardly knew anything about the different kinds of web until I got home and tried to figure out what kind of spider makes this one. Bay Nature from San Francisco offers good drawings of the basic types. I still don’t know much. Having failed to note the overall structure when I had my eye to the camera, I can’t tell whether this is a sheet web or a tangle web (also called a cobweb, the kind associated with black widows and their kin). There are also funnel webs, tunnel webs, and numerous variations on the basic themes.

I’ll take this as a reminder of how ignorant I am about things I don’t like. When we set aside arachnophobia or any kind of prejudice, beauty and wonder can lead to respect.

3 thoughts on “The beauty of a spider web: overcoming prejudice

  1. I”m glad I”m not the sister who forced these scary movies on you. How many times did we get tricked into watching scary movies? Even more astonishing is that I never seemed to learn my lesson. I had a low-key fear of spiders before being tricked/forced into Arachnophobia. Now we have a designated spider cup that Ryan uses to save me from tiny spiders by catching them and taking them outside. Thank goodness I somehow got out of Pet Cemetery!

    1. Haha, well I never saw arachnophobia because I’ve always been afraid of them. In general my mother didn’t allow me to watch scary movies, but that didn’t prevent me from developing phobias!

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