Learning

As a child, I devoured books. Trixie Belden, Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and more lived in my head and heart. I followed their adventures with glee. Then in high school I fell in love with Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, D’Artagnan in The Three Muskateers, or anything by James Michner. The longer the book, the more I enjoyed being lost in this fictional world. Fiction ruled my reading world.

Nonfiction reading was for writing research papers. I didn’t really consider that “reading.” Where was the joy in facts? This reading had a purpose, meet the teacher’s request to research and spit back the information acquired.

Now I must admit, I did love reading nonfiction picture books. The combination of the pictures with the text opened my mind to an interesting natural world. They piqued my curiosity.

So that was the extent of my nonfiction reading, until I read a book by Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness. A couple of friends were reading it and their conversations intrigued me to discover this book, too. Sy Montgomery has caught me in her web of books and I can’t stop reading and thinking about her ability to draw the reader into her world of discovery.

Currently, I am reading Birdology by Sy Montgomery. The sub title is Adventures with a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip Hop Parrots, Baby Hummingbirds, and One Murderously Big Living Dinosaur. Doesn’t that just make you want to know more?

I’ve always been interested in watching birds, but this book gives me a whole new perspective to consider. In the introduction she says,

“No matter where we live, birds live with us. Too many of us take them for granted. We don’t appreciate how very strange they are, how different. We don’t realize what otherworldly creatures birds are.”

All this is to say, that on my morning walk I passed a neighbor’s yard and saw this –

a yard shimmering with little spider webs. I stepped closer. There was a red dot in the first one. I looked at another one, same red dot.

I gently blew on the red dot. It scurried to the edge of the web. I was curious, I needed to know more. Probably Sy Montgomery would have a variety of protocols in place to help her learn more, however, I just used google when I got home. 🙂

According to my “research” they are probably black-tailed red sheetweavers also known as red grass spiders. They are only found in Mexico, the West Indies, and the United States. Should you want to know more about these spiders click here. During the day, the webs disappear. I will be looking tomorrow to see if they reappear.

What sparks your curiosity?

Don’t you have a story to share?