The sun was shining and a pleasant breeze was ruffling the soft green leaves of the maple trees. Freshly mown grass, newly planted vegetable garden and melodious bird song added to the ambience, beckoning me outdoors. It was an idyllic setting and the perfect morning to enjoy my daily reading and writing time at the picnic table. I was sure the ideas and words would flow.

As with most outdoor excursions, I needed to make several trips back and forth into the house to get everything I needed. Each time I disappeared into the house, grand-dog Daisy (who was vacationing with us) barked because she doesn’t like to be outside alone. I explained to her that I would be right back out, but either she didn’t understand or didn’t believe me. In any event it was non-stop barking until I came back outside. Finally only one thing remained to make my outdoor session complete: a cup of tea. Since this took a bit longer than Daisy liked, it was BARK BARK BARK until I reemerged. I had just gotten settled at the table when I heard the phone ring. I sprinted into the house to the tune of Bark! Bark! Bark!

Two phone calls, one email and ten minutes later, I was back outside. Everything was ready: my papers hadn’t blown away, there were no bugs in my tea, and Daisy had settled down for a snooze in the grass. However, the tranquil scene was short-lived.
Perched on a lawn chair next to me was a fuzzy black spider sporting white leg bands. If he were in the house I would have squashed him, but since I was invading his territory, I gave him some space – ten feet of space. I carried the chair he was on to the far side of the garden and shook him off.

Yet, not three sips of tea later, there he was – this time he was crawling across the top of the table umbrella; his sun-lit shadow making him look three times as big. I smacked the underside of the umbrella and off he flew.

I drained my cup and jotted some notes when out of the corner of my eye I saw the spider crawling across the edge of the table – in my direction! I jumped out of my chair, snapped a picture of the beast, and grabbed my stuff off the table. Then I unleashed Daisy and we both bolted into the house. I had had enough of the idyllic writer’s life for one day.

With the help of the internet, I discovered my persistent little visitor was a jumping spider – that explained his ability to cover the ground so quickly. They have excellent vision, distinct personalities, and will often take a position above their intended prey.

A barking dog and a jumping spider may have spoiled my peaceful morning, but at least they gave me something to write about. And after all, that’s why I went outside in the first place.

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