Monday, October 24, 2016

A Speedy Spider.....Possibly Spiteful?

Spider.....a word that strikes fear into the hearts of many people.  But not me.  I wasn't raised that way.

My mother's father immigrated to the US from Aberdeen during World War One.  He taught my mother (as she later taught me) that good Scots people do NOT kill spiders in honor of the memory of Robert the Bruce.  (Robert, after much loss and turmoil, was encouraged to battle on by the example of a determined spider.)  And my father, not a Scot but Irish in heritage, also taught me to revere spiders.  Daddy died when I was young but one of my best childhood memories is of him spinning me a soothing fairytale during the height of a horrific thunderstorm--it was about a kindly, watchful, heroic spider.

I don't kill spiders, ever.  Never on purpose.

Small spiders, when I discover them in the house, I consider to be welcome guests but if the spider is large, I trap and release it outside.  Now, I don't care to touch spiders but I feel that way about all sorts of other creatures, so that's no censure.  The point is that spiders don't freak me out.  Indeed, one of the highlights of my summers is to find beautiful Argiopes (Golden Garden Spiders) living in my yard.  (You might read another post about such here:  A Matter of Distance.) 

When I noticed a big spider in the blue room the other night, I wasn't concerned.  I simply tried to trap her in the same way that I have trapped countless others:  I put a large plastic tumbler over the creature, slide a plastic card underneath, and transport it to the freedom of the outside world.  Easy.  But not with this spider.  She was Not having it.  And she was fast.  Really fast and very evasive--impossible to trap.

Since there seemed to be nothing else I could do, I left her to it.  Either she would find a cozy corner or she would succumb.  (It has been years since the exterminator's last visit but bugs still expire with regularity here--alarmingly efficacious stuff, that bug spray.)

A few days after the initial spider sighting, I noticed Daisy behaving a bit oddly--she wasn't walking through the doorway of the blue room normally but sort of sidling around it.  Yeah, there was the big spider on the carpet in the middle of the entrance, menacing the cat.  The tumbler-trap wasn't in the room, so I grabbed the nearest thing to hand:  a big plastic spinach container with attached lid (it was on my worktable awaiting re-purposing).  I dropped the container over the spider.  But she was fast.  Really fast.  Instead of being trapped safely in the container, she was flattened under the lid.  She really was a very large spider--at least three inches across with her legs splayed out.

I was sick at heart because I would never have harmed her.  I couldn't bear to deal with the corpse right away so I went off to bed intending to take care of it in the morning.  Poor spider.

When I woke shortly after dawn, one of my first thoughts was of the sad task that awaited.....but when I went to do so, the spider was gone.  Really I had thought she was squashed and dead.  Could I have rescued her if I had simply picked up the box?  Had she cleverly played possum until she knew I was out of the way?  She had certainly had her wits about her when she evaded my earlier attempts to catch her, so it is possible.

Now, somewhere in the house, there is a very large spider that I have unintentionally annoyed.  Daisy is scared of her.  And I'm beginning to feel a little apprehensive myself.  Oh my.

Life is good.
Spiders are nice. 

(Hey, Big Spider, if you're reading over my shoulder, please note that last statement.  I mean it.  Honest.  And I do sincerely apologize about the whole being trapping you under the lid thing.  Really.)

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