We had a really nice mini-vacation. We mostly stayed home – we hung out and watched movies, spent time with friends, and generally just relaxed – but we also decided to head down to Charlottesville for a couple of days. Graham had picked out some cideries for us to try, and he booked a really cute inn for a night. And then, on Monday, we took Skyline Drive home.
What is Skyline Drive? Glad you (maybe) asked! It’s part of the Blue Ridge Parkway, and of Shenandoah National Park. It snakes through some of Virginia’s beautiful mountain terrain, and it boasts some of the very best views in the state. Like this one:
And this one:
And this one, too:
We took it slow and just enjoyed driving and chatting. We don’t often get the privilege of uninterrupted, distraction-free time together.
And then, at the highest point on the route, we ran into some fog.
Some very dense fog.
But you know, it was fine. The fog actually made the fall colors pop, and it’s kind of magical, feeling like you’re up in the clouds.
All in all, Skyline Drive was a really lovely experience, and I think we’re planning to do it again in the spring. It’ll be fun to see how the vistas change with the seasons.
It’s been raining on and off today, and it’s nice and cool outside, and the sky is pink and purple, and the trees are starting to turn gold, and I just really think September in Virginia might be one of my very favorite things in the entire world.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m not particularly squeamish about bugs and other creepy crawlies. (Except snakes.) I find them pretty fascinating, actually. (Except snakes.) So when Graham snapped a shot of this colorful lady while he was out doing some work on the house yesterday, my first thought was, “What a pretty spider!”
And she is, isn’t she?
I did some research today, and it turns out, this giantess is an Argiope aurantia, sometimes called the writing spider. They’re known for the patterns they weave into their webs, which often look like X’s and Z’s. They’re not aggressive, but they will bite if provoked, and they tend to stay in one place throughout their lifetimes. And an interesting bit of folklore: It’s been said that if you tear down a writing spider’s web or try to harm it, the spider will build a new web the next day with your name written in silk, thereby cursing you with bad luck.
So, I’ll leave her alone, then. Which is my general rule of thumb anyway, when it comes to spiders.
But it does feel sort of appropriate to have a writing spider close by. I certainly don’t plan to bother her, but I think it’s pretty likely that I’ll check on her every now and again, if only to see what new patterns she’s created.