Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Arachnophobia vs. Arachnomania

Spiders fascinate me. At the same time they revolt me. Sometimes they scare me, and, other times, they just plain give me the heebie-jeebies. I am completely ambivalent about them. I try my best never to kill them because most of them are "good" bugs, as in they eat lots of "bad" bugs, for which I'm thankful. If I find one in my house I ignore it if it's not within reach. If it is within reach, I do my best to capture it, then take it outside and release it. The only exception to this treatment is Black Widows. Inside or outside, I smash them to a pulp without an ounce of conscience. When we first moved into our house 26 years ago, I was convinced our entire development was built directly on top of the world's largest Black Widow community. For the first month we lived here, I murdered a half dozen a day, and, some evenings was afraid to go to bed. I was almost ready to sell the house and move away as far as I could get. Fortunately, the situation smoothed out, and the beasts gradually gave up and went away. I'm still wary of them, though... never poke around in the garage or under cabinets without wearing gloves, and stay diligent while working in the garden.

I'm totally enchanted by the beauty of spider webs. I delight in finding one in my garden... IF I see it before I walk into it. That's happened a couple of times, and I'm a basket case for hours afterward... even have been known to have nightmares about the experience. On the other hand, unlike my mother and others I've known, I don't destroy webs when I find them. I adopt a live and let live attitude and leave the web alone. Sometimes I'm rewarded by seeing the owner of web, and sometimes even have the pleasure of watching a fly meet its inglorious end.

To me, the most amazing thing about spider webs is their strength. It's almost as amazing as the spider's tenacity in rebuilding a web that's been destroyed. The other morning, after a nasty storm, I was rewarded by this sight, which, considering the ferocity of the storm, I considered nothing short of a miracle.

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