I want to soar like a…..spider?


Today my son and I went downtown.  He edits video promotions for our church and he needed some good footage for an upcoming conference.  So, he asked me to come along.  Actually, he asked someone else, but they couldn’t go.  It’s interesting how moms are always last on the list…

So we found ourselves romping around the city for a few hours.  One of the places at which he decided to do some shooting was at the Hancock building.  I wasn’t exactly thrilled about going to the ninety-third floor on the fastest elevator in North America.  (It takes only 40 seconds!)  The things we will do for our children.  But, once we arrived the view was spectacular!  It was a beautiful, clear day and visibility was particularly great.

While sitting in a chair waiting for my son, I noticed a spider in the corner of the window…on the OUTSIDE of the corner of the window, thankfully.  I wondered how he got up there.  Did he walk?  If so, how long would it take a spider to walk from ground level to the 93rd floor?  Fascinated, I asked my son to take some pictures.

I couldn’t stop thinking about these spiders, and after some investigation I found several of them all around the observation deck.  When I got home, I did a little research and this is what I found…and I promise, I am not making this up.

Fellow blogger Mom2Mom stayed on the 15th floor of a hotel across the street from the Hancock building recently and received the following note left on the bed:

Dear Guest:

We request that you do not open your windows in your suite during this time to avoid the annual migration of High Rise Flying Spiders.

A Chicago Phenomenon…..

Lake shore high-rises, Willis Tower and Hahn Hancock are noticing the annual influx of flying spiders spinning mini-masterpieces as high as 95 stories.

Baby spiders release silk from their spinnerets to create a balloon-like contraption. The spiders then use the balloon to hitch rides on uplifting air currents from the lake. The spider is the Larinioides sclopetaria, an orb-weaving spider that is found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. In natural environments, these spiders live on rocks overhanging water. In the city, they have found the next best thing; tall buildings and high-rises. What makes high-rises so appealing is the light shining through the windows.

Thank you for helping us provide you with a comfortable stay.

There are no “rocks overhanging water” in Chicago so they found the “next best thing”.  I want to be found as adaptable as these little critters.  When they find themselves outside their typical environment, they don’t complain, they don’t sit around feeling sorry for themselves, they adapt.  Then they use their spinnerets to create little hang gliders that carry them to the most spectacular view in the city, where they construct a beautiful home for themselves.

May we be like these little creatures, using the resources God has given us to create a beautiful environment for ourselves and those we love.  And may our creation cause us to go soaring on the wind to greater heights.  May we be undaunted by a change of environment and plans.   Yes, it’s official, I want to soar like a spider.

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34 thoughts on “I want to soar like a…..spider?

  1. ‘Little bit of an arachnophobe… but this is quite fascinating! 🙂 Stories like this leave me in absolute awe and wonder of the creativity of our God. First of all, that a little spider would feel like it needs to hang out 95 stories above ground, but that the wind currents, that just so happen at the right time, that lifts them up that high… Isn’t that just like God? That when we of little strength and ability are not able to do something on our own, He offers the wind that we need to elevate us to heights we could not have done alone or in our own strength. If we allow Him access to what little resources we do have, He carries us. 🙂 I’ll be hanging onto this as I venture forth to my writing conference in eight days… Thank you! 🙂

  2. The microcosm of Chicago is truly spectacular. To see soaring raptors (primarily hawks) nesting on the top or Tribune Tower or Wrigley, amongst the flying buttresses. To sit in a 7th floor office and watch it snow UP. To walk around Sears Tower (it is SEARS TOWER – I don’t care who they sell it to, or who wants to hang what name on it, it is SEARS TOWER, dagnabit! 😉 ) during the winter, and watch people having to haul themselves along on ropes to overcome the winds. Even to enjoy the flights of “city rats”, the omnipresent pigeons, as they rise into a painfully cobalt sky in mid-January, every building’s breath condensed in the sub-zero cold………
    Rats. Now I’m really homesick. Thanks a lot! :p ( 😀 )

    • You’ve never seen it rain or snow upward? That’s one of the greatest parts of working in the city! I used to work at 212 Washington when it was an Illinois Bell building (it’s condos now), and we had windows that faced west across …. Franklin? (I think.) When the winds blew from the west, they’d come across the river down Washington, hit the little open area on the NE corner of Washington and Franklin (used to be a Bell store selling phones and services), hit our building and go up, carrying the snow or rain with it. It’s kinda like when the clouds are low and drizzly, going up in SEARS ( 😉 ),and stepping out into sunshine ABOVE the clouds!
      Let’s see, what else? Oh yeah – ever have your shadow face SOUTH? Walk north along Wacker Drive early in the morning – the sun shines onto the angled face of 333 Wacker, which reflects the sunlight at a 90-degree angle southward down Wacker. Funky! Or crossing one of the river bridges and watching the river steam during the bitter cold. Or the heart-stopping moments after an ice storm, when one of the tall buildings drops some ice off its’ side – the ice crashing onto the sidewalk a couple inches in front of you will DEFINITELY get the blood pumping!
      Then there’s the waves crashing onto the rocks north of Adler Planetarium – when it’s far below zero (-20s at the least), the water freezes onto the rocks, growing horizontal stalactites. But that deserves its’ own writeup. 😀

  3. Wow…I never knew anything about these high flying spiders. I could have nightmares over this new revelation, but I love your post. Not a big spider fan, but like some of the others, these guys deserve a high five or two.

  4. I love it! Your son’s picture and your words. I love that you went to the top of a building and even though the point of such a trip is usually to see the big picture, the city spread beneath you like an architect’s model, you found a tiny little spider making a home where we would least expect it.

  5. Delightful story from start to finish. I love the book and the movie of Charlotte’s Web. The narration at the beginning of the movie is lovely…I checked one time to see if it was in fact E.B.White’s words…they weren’t…but still the story is very close and very familiar.

  6. My hubby would LOVE that elevator! Do you have jet lag when you get to the top? Amazing about the spiders. Many lessons to be found in nature, thanks for pointing out that one.

  7. Thirdhandart said what I immediately thought: “It’s just like the end of Charlotte’s Web!” You know, when all of Charlotte’s children go soaring off in different directions saying, “Good-bye! Good-bye! Good-bye!” Except a few who decide to stay put.

    Who knew they were heading to Chicago! 😉

    Thank you for reading my post a Ironic Mom’s today. I’m the chick with Monkey, the kid who sliced the virtual-head off his cyber-wolf. 😉

    I hope you’ll come visit me again.

    This was a really beautiful piece. I’m glad I caught it.

    • I’m definitely going to have to reread Charlotte’s Web…I really don’t remember anything about it other than that it was the first book that caused me to sob. Of course I’ll be back. Your piece about severing the head of Monkey’s pet was hysterical!

  8. Pingback: Spiders, Marilyn Monroe and Superman | Journey Towards Epiphany

  9. I just stumbled across your blog. Took a few minutes to poke around and really enjoyed your writing. This post made me think of Charlotte’s Webb..remember Charlotte’s babies flying away? Thanks for sharing your talent. Look forward to reading more…maybe over a EyeRollDiaries??

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