We've been getting rain nearly every day - and still we're 20% below normal for May - and that has conspired to give us particularly damp mornings, where dew remains on the grass until noon and my wet, soaked canvas shoes are the early-day norm.
Today, though, the moisture was even greater and at 6:45 am, when I expect the sun and myself to rise at about the same time, I walked down the steps in near-darkness. By 8 am, when I took my morning walk, cars still had their headlights on and the atmosphere, while cool, was thick, heavy and sodden.
As I walked back out Sam's lane, our own property came slowly into view. Only the line of trees at the western edge of Pinehaven were visible. The sun, mostly hidden by the fog, shown through briefly, betraying its position by a soft spot of increased light. Now, hours later, there has still been no sunshine.
Closer to Sam's, a lone tree stands near the lane, coming into view as I near, thrust through the fog only as I approach. It has an almost sinister look to it, as though it's intent is wholly evil. All is quiet. Even the usual barn lot dogs I so often hear are muffled by the moisture, unheard by me, too far removed.
Near to our house, the pussy willow holds a thin cobweb, itself tacked lightly to the bare branches, held there by a drop of spider's glue, dripping with beads of moisture. No half-aware insect would fall for this trap so exposed.
Beyond the barn an Austrian Pine holds a more elaborate web, also betrayed by the dampness. Late yesterday afternoon we had a brief shower pass through and it was that moisture, cooled by the night's air, that made it visible, made it rise again from the earth.
A closer view shows the copious moisture that hangs by mere threads. Is it any wonder, then, that clouds rise on such as this, send it back down when the weight becomes too great, the colder air unable to hold it? Spider webs and clouds hold much in common. Scientists may call it nucleation but it is the same, here on ground level, or high in the clouds.
Another web, held beneath a pine branch at the rear of our property, is as thin as an exhalation, a breath made visible, and yet it gathers on its thin torn shroud, droplets of water, and gives itself away. Surely this is a hungry time for spiders, their traps sprung by nothing more than hints of water vapor.