Two classes of beings frequenting our neighborhood in atypical numbers these days: Mormon missionaries and spiders. The Mormons are less interesting to look at, but they do leave postcards offering to explain the meaning of life. The spiders don’t have much to say on existential and spiritual matters — unless you buy into “Charlotte’s Web,” which I doubt is a true story — but they’re endlessly fascinating to watch if you’re not likely prey. We’ve got at least three big ones that have spun webs outside the house; this one’s next to the front porch (click for full-size image).

[Further research — for instance here and here and here and here — suggests our arachnid visitors are variously called pumpkin spiders, garden spiders and cross orb weavers, aka Araneus diadematus. They’re orb weavers, their venom is of low toxicity to humans, and they’re found throughout Western Europe and North America.]