Random Daily Writings: Spiders
I can't possibly be the only person who looks up every spider they come across?
And, confession time, I rarely release the creeply crawlies into the wild after I've captured them inside my house. I justify it to my kids by saying trespassers pay the price.
While I certainly wouldn't say I have arachnophobia, I exercise more-than-average levels of caution when finding spiders. I do my best to capture it, identify it, and then dispose of it. Since capturing requires level of bravery I don't always manage, sometimes I'm required to attempt a positive ID on the body.
Every brown spider is recluse, and every dark spider with strange markings a possible black widow.
Imagine my horror seeing this beauty skittering across my living room carpet?
I took pictures and was forced to dispose of it before identifying it as a False Black Widow, or Steatoda.
I'm practically an arachnologist (yes, that is a real thing), specializing in Michigan spiders. My fear is somewhat unfounded, as we only have two species of poisonous spiders, the Brown Recluse and Black Widow. Although I've gotten my share of very uncomfortable Wolf Spider bites in my time.
What is it about spiders that is so terrifying? Their ability to crawl quietly into tiny holes or crevices and lie in wait for unsuspecting victims? The fear of their venomous bite? The terrible way they crawl manically across your floor in search of a place to hide in the darkness?
Even through my terror, I find spiders fascinating.
I love to see the beautiful markings of an Orb Weaver on the large webs they weave, and I enjoy their beauty as long as they stay outside where they belong.
Spiders have long played roles in poetry, children's stories, and even novels as villains or tiny assassins, and perhaps the unlikely hero on occasion.
I'll leave you with this famous poem about the Spider and the Fly, which you've undoubtedly heard quoted before.
The Spider and the Fly
“Will you walk into my parlour, said a Spider to a Fly;
'Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy.
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I have many pretty things to shew when you get there.
Oh, no, no! said the little Fly; to ask me is in vain:
For who goes up that winding stair shall ne'er come down again.
Said the cunning Spider to the Fly, Dear friend, what can I do
To prove the warm affection I have ever felt tor you?
I have within my parlour great store of all that's nice:
I'm sure you're very welcome; will you please to take a slice!
Oh, no, no! said the little Fly; kind sir, that cannot be;
For I know what's in your pantry, and I do not wish to see.
Sweet creature, said the Spider, you're witty and you're wise;
How handsome are your gaudy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking-glass upon my parlour-shelf;
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself.
Oh, thank you, gentle sir, she said, for what you're pleased to say;
And wishing you good morning now, I'll call another day.
The Spider turn'd him round again, and went into his den,
For well he knew that silly Fly would soon come back again.
And then he wore a tiny web, in a little corner sly,
And set his table ready for to dine upon the Fly;
And went out to his door again, and merrily did sing,
Come hither, pretty little Fly, with the gold and silver wing.
Alas, alas! how very soon this silly little Fly,
Hearing his wily flattering words, came slowly fluttering by.
With humming wings she hung aloft, then nearer and nearer drew.
Thinking only of her crested head and gold and purple hue:
Thinking only of her brilliant wings, poor silly thing! at last,
Up jump'd the cruel Spider, and firmly held her fast!
He dragg'd her up his winding stair, into his dismal den,
Within his little parlour; but she ne'er came down again.
And now, my pretty maidens, who may this story hear,
To silly, idle, flattering words, I pray you ne'er give ear;
Unto an evil counsellor close heart, and ear, and eye,
And learn a lesson from this tale of the Spider and the Fly.
~By Mary Howitt, 1829