I rose early on a sultry summer morning, wanting to fulfill my animal chores before the day grew hotter.
It was also deadline day for my weekly column and I needed time to sift through the inspirational source pile that appeared to be a little sparse.
Wet and heavy air greeted me as I stepped outside. They say it will be 95 later in the day with heat advisories. Perhaps the blanket of humidity was also smothering my creativity.
Already it’s the height of summer. Where went May and June? It seems like yesterday we were celebrating the Fourth of July. The dog days are just around the corner. Too fast is time.
Steamy clouds of fog hovered over the wet grass, which glistened in the rising sun. I noticed dozens of small patches of fluffy white on the green, as delicate as a spider’s web. There were no signs of the arachnidan denizens as I knelt closer for a closer view.
From the back of my cobwebbed mind came the words “gossamer thread.” Clearly the words of a poet.
I finished my chores and returned to the house. I had left empty and returned full of introspect and wonder, my muse flowing with poetic thoughts.
Speaking of poems, I found it immediately.
A Noiseless Patient Spider
By Walt Whitman
A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself,
Ever unreeling them, ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you O my soul where you stand,
Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.
The message was profound.
What filaments shall I launch this day?
What spheres shall I seek?
What will I catch to fill my soul?
What spider would create such artistry overnight?
Then a web search of a different kind shattered the illusion. My paean of nature screeched to a halt, thanks to gardeningknowhow.com.
“Spider webs on grass that is damp with morning dew may be a symptom of a bigger problem called dollar spot fungus. The branching mycelium of dollar spot fungus looks like spider webs or cobwebs on morning grass, but unlike spider webs, dollar spot mycelium disappears when the dew dries.”
Apparently poor soil and poor lawn maintenance is the cause, which starts as small brown spots the size of dollar coins, hence the name.
“Inadequate nitrogen is a primary cause, but drought, over-watering, improper mowing height, heavy thatch and poor aeration can all contribute to the disease. In the presence of stress, warm days and cool nights encourage rapid fungal growth.”
Great. The yard is stressed. Welcome to the club.
I’ll have to cast my gossamer threads toward the direction of additional funds to relieve the anxiety of my vegetative covering. It will take a few more spots of dollars to fix this.
Here are my ductile anchors for today. The garden needs weeding, the lawn needs mowing. The chicken coop needs cleaning.
And I still have to find a topic to write about.