I had to pull Leslie's response to my Dictionary post out of the comments file to share it with everyone who might not see that section, because her information about the spider webs in the garden is fascinating. All my friends up here are seeing the same veils thrown over their plants. I grew up having a horror of spiders. I even tacked a small sign up at the bottom edge of my bedroom door that read: Attention Spiders! Do Not Enter! Victim of Arachnophobia. So I find it strange that I am now intrigued by these little creatures--or at least by their handiwork (Though I think I have a nasty spider bite on the palm of my hand right now, and it aches...did it get me while I was sleeping? The sign goes back up.)
Leslie is the author of Spider Silk: Evolution and 400 Million Years of Spinning, Waiting, Snagging, and Mating. Here is her comment:
Beautiful post. As an inveterate dictionary reader (who grew up on American Heritage, in a house up the road from Mike Pender's pheasant farm), I've often dug out from under, word by word.
I'm not sure taking active measures counts, but if you can coax one of the tiny spiders off the miniature sheets in your garden and onto your hand, your mood might brighten because, according to English superstition, you're sure to come in to good fortune. Your weavers are known there as money spiders. (All us writers should come and lie flat in your garden and hope for the best.) They belong to the family Linyphiidae, one of the numerically largest spider families. Webs like these are probably in your garden every morning, but the fog settling on them brought them into view. What I find most interesting about the linyphiids is that their webs evolved after the orb web, after the kind of web you posted back on June 4.
If you go out tomorrow morning and spray an ultrafine mist over your garden, the webs will probably reappear, as if from nothing. I almost guarantee that if you get out there with a blade of grass and a magnifying glass and try to tickle a linyphiid out into its web, you'll have a better day--even if all you get is a closer view of the web.