Autumn, for me, starts one morning when my bare feet are surprised by a pleasant nip of coldness from the concrete patio. The air is crisp and clean. After the passions of spring and summer; unfolding leaves, and kaleidoscopes of colorful fruits and flowers, nature seems to be winding down. Foliage is thinning on trees. Branches are becoming bare. But there is one magnificent creature at the hight of her glory: Araneus diadematus, the Cross Orbweaver. In spring the newly hatched spiders are tiny and build miniature versions of the orb web. This time of year their gold and brown abdomens are large, plump and sometimes decorated with a white cross. The span of graceful legs is inches in diameter. I spotted a big one in the park recently. My heart swelled with gratitude, wonder, and a little sadness. Soon she will lay her eggs and die. In spring the cycle begins anew. This is the Pascal Mystery. All things must pass away to be resurrected in glory.

by Nathaniel