It was an eagle-eyed Canoelover Jr. who first spotted her. She had built a lovely web between our downspout and a juniper a full six feet away. The strands of silk that connected the downspout to the juniper were thick and cable-like, and the web was lovely, symmetrical and a work of art, despite the repairs needed after an evening of collecting moths.
In Autumn I often put my little camper trailer in our driveway, pop it up, plug it in, and get busy writing orders I wouldn't be able to write in the office. The Shack is awesome but sometimes I want to be on my portable screen porch and have power too. So I set up the trailer and in twenty minutes I'm working away via remote link to the office.
I put the dog blanket on the smaller of the two beds and Gracie will spend some time sleeping while I work, but one can never have too many pets. Agatha was hiding under a leaf, maybe four feet from where I was sitting. In my peripheral vision I could see her, front legs resting lightly on a couple of key threads that would allow her to pick up the smallest vibration. Once in a while out of the corner of my eye I'd see a little jump, and Agatha would be on that juicy little fly like a pro wrestler dropping off a corner post onto another pro wrestler. Except with Agatha, it was real.
Agatha is (they winter over so she's probably still alive) an Araneus diadematus, a lovely name for a lovely arachnid. Commonly named a Cross Spider (easy to see why), I prefer my own name for her: Bejeweled Orbweaver. Agatha looks like she's covered in diadems, and to be honest these pictures don't do her justice. Her coloring was much more vibrant but the light was flat.
I think they're beautiful. I am supported by David Hume, who stated that "beauty in things exists merely in the mind which contemplates them." Or to quote Benjamin Franklin (a.k.a. Poor Richard), "Beauty, like supreme dominion, is but supported by opinion."
You don't have to think Arachnids are beautiful, but if you can suspend whatever cultural biases that were inflicted upon your psyche at an early age, I promise you're going to enjoy a great many more beautiful things.