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Salt Creek Jewels

A fog rising through the Salt Creek valley led me quietly out the door and down the driveway, past a series of dirt road intersections and directly to the gate of the Little Salt Fork Marsh Preserve near Raymond, just in time to greet the dawn.

It was the barbed-wire spun in silk that first made me stop to consider the hidden creatures residing here that revealed a soft touch in sharp contrast to the tamed highway cutting through the creek.

Amy Kucera/NEBRASKAland Magazine
Amy Kucera/NEBRASKAland Magazine
Amy Kucera/NEBRASKAland Magazine

As I crossed the fence, cameras dangling as extra limbs, it was clear that an entire congregation of prairie spiders had gather here to hunt the land, armed with spinnerets and silk, revealed only by their woven webs dripping in dew. Their creations dazzled as jewels—some doubled up and shining, dripping as diamonds and others drooping heavy under the weight of the droplets.

Amy Kucera/NEBRASKAland Magazine
Amy Kucera/NEBRASKAland Magazine
Amy Kucera/NEBRASKAland Magazine

In the haze of dawn, the fog soon faded. I lingered on, with legs soaked in morning dew and the realization that I was a guest in a field of artists—all hungry hunters—with drawn weapons as delicate and intricate as my morning in the marsh.

About amy kucera

A Nebraska native from Verdigre, Kucera received an Associate’s degree in English Education from Northeast Community College, Bachelor’s degree in English Writing from Wayne State College, and English language teaching certificate through the Cambridge University in Prague, Czech Republic. In addition to writing, her interests include history, music, art and traveling— especially via foot, horseback, canoe and kayak. She is currently the Executive Director at the John G. Neihardt State Historic Site in Bancroft.

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