The Secret Things

IMG_2069Can you see her hanging upside down, camouflaged in the daisies? She is Argiope Aurantia – a yellow garden spider. Having met several of these velvety black and golden arachnids, my curiosity has driven me to learn whatever I may from sources reliable and unreliable. I have learned that she IS a “she” – a male would be much slighter in build. She can wrap her prey in a binding of silk before I can count ten seconds – I saw this with my own eyes! She awaits her meals, upside down, in the center of her well-ordered web – an “orb” web with a stunning innovation: a thick “zipper” of z’s down the vertical center.

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Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us that “the secret things belong to the Lord our God; but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever!” I’ve been happy to share with the children at school all that I have been learning about Ms. Argiope: her zippery habits, her alacrity in nabbing a gnat, her readying to lay eggs in the coming weeks, her impending demise at the first hard frost. These “things revealed” belong to us and to our children! And they tell us something about the One who designed Argiope’s distinctive web, who crafted the vivid contrast of her black and yellow body, who thought it fitting to pair her legs such that it looks, at first glance, as though she has only four – what whimsy!

But why? Why the zipper? Why the black and yellow? Why the perfect symmetry of the orb? Why? Even if one returns, habitually, to the endless utility of “survival” as an explanation (“to warn birds not to fly through the web,” or “to hide the spider from predators,” or “to more effectively catch prey”) it begs the question, “Then why aren’t ALL spiders like this?”

We do not know. These are among the myriad “secret things” about which we hypothesize, those mysteries we seek to solve but for which we do not yet have answers.¬†

“The secret things belong to the Lord,”but He invites us to explore and discover! He invites us to invite the children, as co-adventurers, in the grand journey of exploration and discovery!

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