The Santa Anas arrived today, blowing hot and dusty like morning breath, jarring rocks from the hillsides and spilling pollen into the air. The wind is a summer preview, weeks on end of triple digits, where the mercury threatens. I dressed in shirt sleeves and leaned into its warning as I crossed the parking lot toward the train station. On the platform, I waited in the shade of a pepper tree, bells jangling far off, when I saw a spider web, vast and intricate and beautiful, its fine threads pulled tense between leafy branches and bowed in the wind like a top sail. The spider, black like a scorched pan, scurried back and forth on its delicate creation, panicked and purposeful.
The forecast calls for winds up to 30 mph. The tensile strength of a spider web is comparable to high-grade steel. Its silk is able to stretch 40% of its length without breaking.