Back to Nature (Published on - July 21, 2004)
Golden orb spider or golden silk spider
Photo by Rick Tremmel
Golden orb spider
Nephila clavipes (Linnaeus) (Arachnida: Araneae: Araneidae)

Already on this early Florida morning it felt like we were walking through a sauna. The path, leaves, forest floor appeared as if after a rain; dark, damp, slippery. Drops of dew fell upon our caps and shoulders as the rising sun shown through the diamonds of moisture scattered throughout the forest as miniature prisms or stars.'

As our ancestors may have done hundreds of years before us, we walked hand in hand letting our imaginations flow back and forth between the now, the tomorrow, the yesterday. We needed to return to nature in its raw state to find our own souls, faith and belief that life is wholesome. We needed to put away cell phones, Palm

Pilots, demanding schedules, the persistent demands of some, the impossible demands of others and return to balance, beauty and truth, no lies here. So, there we walked upon ancient paths in the ancient footsteps primitive and pure.

It is natural to romanticize that “times back then” would have been so much better. It is normal to wish for simpler times “back in those days.” We certainly didn’t have the hustle and bustle of today and maybe for children they were better off with fields to roam and streams to fish in, wide expanses of sky with cloud shapes to dream upon. But a child’s life does not include the worries of bringing home a paycheck, buying groceries or cooking dinner. Those priorities haven’t changed since the dawn of man. It’s survival of our species, simply put; just good parenting.

Watch the cardinals weave their nest, observe the spider meticulously grooming her web, learn from the wolf pack as the males stand sentinel over their families, fighting when necessary to protect their pups or journeying far from home to bring home enough food for their survival.

Nature can be brutal. Laziness, selfishness, untrustworthiness is not tolerated within the species. We humans look at animals often with disdain and believe they’re ruthless and yet we live in a litigious society that is far from fair and rewards those very misfits for their own lack of responsibility. The louder someone yells and the more times they spout lies, the more they are heard and then amazingly believed.

Nature is honest. Anything else is not tolerated. We could do well in looking back to nature. We could do well listening to mother earth and coming away with some new old lessons.

Along our path we watched the golden orb spider gently pick away a leaf that had fallen upon her web. This beautiful structure spanned at least 12 feet above us from tree to tree, each tiny strand a work of art and detailed attention.

The female golden orb spider is a large orange and brown spider with the feathery tufts on its legs. The females are much larger than the males. Females are between 25 mm to 40 mm long. Male golden orb spiders are dark brown and only 4 mm to 6 mm long. These spiders weave the largest orb webs of any other spider in Florida.

Golden orb weavers clean their webs daily to free them of leaves and small twigs. If left uncleaned, the web would be easily seen, thus alerting potential victims of the danger that lies in wait. The silk of the golden orb weaver is the strongest fiber known to man.

As the female golden orb spider preened herself and her home, she appeared proud, majestic and pure. She was but a simple spider upon a finely wove web. What example do we set for our children? How will our children’s footsteps find our paths? Will they know you by the peace and honesty in your heart and words? Sometimes we need to return to nature in its raw state to find our own souls, faith and belief that life is wholesome, back to nature.

Karen can be reached at

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