They spun their webs very early in the morning, before any of the humans were awake. Even the men who delivered the post were too tardy to catch them.
By the time Mildred the Milk Lady had begun her rounds the ice webs had already started to melt. She wondered how many of her kind ever got to appreciate the product of the icy arachnids’ night-time labour. Perhaps the occasional drunken student on his or her way home, or a nightshift worker, bleary-eyed and ready for bed. One likely too drunk and the other too tired.
It was a sad enterprise all round. Each spider only living long enough to spin a single web before the rising temperature of the day turned both web and spider into little more than a tiny puddle. Why that was any more saddening than a human’s eventual demise she did not know, but it was. To her, anyways.
She tried to explain her feelings on the matter to Patrick the Postman.
‘You got it all wrong, Mildred love,’ he said in his usual patronising way. ‘It’s to be celebrated. They only live ten or eleven hours. Not long enough to get bored. Not like us. You see?’
Mildred had always despised people who got bored. Did we really live too long to be able to fill every moment with delight and wonder?
That year the spring thaw came for both Patrick and Mildred.
But the ice spiders only spun a web over Mildred’s grave stone.