We have a spider.
This spider first made its entrance to our lives a couple of weeks ago, when our son remarked on the scope and breadth of a web within the shrubs planted close to our deck. It made a living feasting on the most foolhardy flitting bugs that aimed their trajectory a leetle too close.
The spider left most of them alone to die naturally. The smallest gnats and flying insects lay in the web to decorate it once their teeny wings gave out. The rest, the big guys, made it just in time for dinner. Our family, amazed at nature taking place close by but at a comfortable distance, witnessed one or two of its catch-and-eat projects. We took pictures and posted them online for everyone to enjoy.
Last week the spider lost its original web due to a particularly strong rainstorm, and built another even closer to our home, just inches off the deck.
The rest of the family lost interest except me. I visited our guest daily, sometimes two or three times, to make sure it was still there and not lurking over my shoulder. You see, I like to keep my eye on wild animals that want to kill me.
Oh, it wants to kill me, friends. It wants to kill all of us. This is a fact of every wild animal that lives outside in the wild. Even those that I could squish in the palm of my hand let’s not think about holding a 4-inch spider with any part of our bodies because it would climb into my hair and probably right into my ear or down the back of my shirt and bite me and I would die.
The other reason I know it wants to kill me is because when it made its home even closer to mine, when I would peer over the deck railing, it started bouncing back and forth on its web in a sinister dance that I have entitled Back Off Or I Will Jump You And Bite You In The Eyeball.
I have a healthy respect for spiders and their villainous intentions.
One night my husband and I were sidling up quietly to the new web, tiptoeing so as not to alert the owner. “Kill it! It'll have babies and we’ll have spiders everywhere!” cried our teenager from behind us when he saw that spidey had moved closer to our home. His aversion to creatures with many legs is alarmingly hostile. “No,” my non-violent yet gravely football-addicted husband replied. “Let it be. It is good for our homestead’s garden, good for devouring the vermin that destroy the fruits of our labors, those that threaten to plunge us into the deepest recesses of sorrow and despondency.”
My husband is stunningly eloquent when he speaks to our children in my mind. He also has a slight accent, like Cary Grant, or even Katharine Hepburn.
“Besides,” I added, just as elegantly, “Haven’t you ever seen Charlotte’s Web? Charlotte makes that egg sac thingy and dies at the fair. We don’t have a pig around here to keep ’em warm in the winter, so most are gonna freeze anyway. DUH.”
Our son rolled his eyes at me and went back in the house to continue his ongoing quest on how to make it big on YouTube.
Recently it has been chilly overnight, and because I’m merely a scientist in the world of social affairs, I have only a cursory knowledge about the lifespan of a summer spider. Charlotte is really my only experience with spiders, if you want to know the truth. And I'm not really a scientist. My interest lies in having firm proof that this thing will die from exposure. I want to see it curled up in a spider ball somewhere outside. It can have babies - that’s fine. But I need to know that said babies are outside.
Imagine my surprise when this morning I peered through the window only to see an empty web. An audible gasp escaped from my lungs as I realized it was on the loose, probably creeping around my bare toes as I fumbled to make the coffee.
But no! There it is!
On the inside of the deck railing.
It’s coming closer. We have been identified as the enemy, I am sure of it.