The spider is gone. There's another, smaller black and yellow argiope on our fence, but the big one I took the picture of is gone. It's strange: I've spent so much time watching her, fascinated by her and the beauty of her web. But now her web is empty, dirty, and broken in spots (she eats her web and re-spins it each night). I looked for the egg sac down in the hosta to see if she had left spring for the next generation. I couldn't find it. She's gone and our yard is less without her.
I think the hardest part is that she didn't even say goodbye.