I rarely saw spiders in the 20 years I lived in Arizona. And in Colorado, most spiders that I came in contact with looked totally harmless. So it was easy to “live and let live”. But, that’s not the case here in North Carolina.
Not only do the spiders here appear more frightful, they are far more plentiful than any other place I have lived. And, they aren’t the only insects here either. There are beetles, and roaches, and inch-long thick, slimy, curly worms that crawl into the apartment at night, birth inch-long skinny, slimy, curly worms during the night. In the morning there’s a community of these little guys inching their way around the apartment, only to dry up, die, and curl into Cheeto puff-like shapes all over the floor by noon! (Imagine taking a quick trip to the bathroom in the dark with that going on under your feet!)
Anyway, now that you have a little idea about how active the insect kingdom is here, let’s get back to the spiders.
Truly I am not a big fan. So, when a fairly large, hearty-looking spider settled at eye-level on the entry wall outside the door to my apartment my first thought was to shoo it away. (I try not to kill anything unless it is absolutely destroying my peace of mind or my property.) But I was busy that day and figured it would make it’s way down the hall and out to the sunshine as I trekked in and out of the apartment tending to last minute pre-travel errands.
Each time I went in and out of the apartment, I saw that spider. I must have taken 10 trips in and out and it NEVER moved. Not one inch! So, logically (at least to me) I concluded that this must be God’s way of getting me comfortable with the darn things. It was outside. It wasn’t harming me and the fact that it was sitting still was a much better option that trying to track it down with my specially designated “bug-catching cup” on a very busy day.
I slept well that night. Well, except for the creepy crawly curly worms.
The next morning I walked out of my apartment door and look what I saw.
It had turned into a She. She was busy building a nest all day yesterday. (Ha! God had snuck in a reminder: it’s not all about me!)
Arrrrrgggghhh! Now it wasn’t just a spider. It was a Momma spider. Now I was in a real predicament. I was a mother looking at another mother. And that little puff ball of a nest was the equivalent of nine months of pregnancy in human time. I couldn’t disregard the miracle of birth that I was witnessing.
I knew that leaving my home for three weeks without destroying this nest would mean that those little babies were bound to be born and migrate right into my home to welcome me when I got back. Not exactly the welcome committee I wanted. (I was appreciating the dead Cheeto puff worms more with every passing minute!)
What could I do? I knew that the bug-catching cup couldn’t relocate mama spider and her babies without harm, and I couldn’t separate momma spider from her babies without feeling great guilt about creating orphans — regardless of my feeling towards such family types.
As I contemplated my options she moved her leg over to the center of the nest as if she were reading my thoughts and weighing her own options on how to defend her babies should I strike.
She left me no choice. I decided to live and let live. If I had to come home to an apartment full of spiders so be it. It was better than living with the guilt of destroying the home of the innocent young within.
Flash forward three weeks, and voila! Tiny holes where the baby spiders had crawled out.
I know some of you have favorite baby animals that can’t possibly be as cute as I imagine these baby spiders were. Just think and compare: baby hippos, baby eagles, baby pugs, how about baby gold fish — ever see one of them? We sing songs about itsy bitsy spiders, how bad could they be?
I dropped my luggage inside the front door and began to search the apartment. Nothing…. except for the dead, curly Cheeto puff worms here and there. Mamma spider had politely birthed her babies and escorted them down the hall, off the patio, and into the woods.
I settled back into the apartment, and after the rain finally stopped today I stepped out on to my patio. Below are the images of what I found — 2 spectacular fully intact spider webs.
Those spider webs are traps for flies and all sorts of other insects that would pester me if they didn’t stop them there. (I wish they would catch some of those Cheeto puff worms!) At any rate, their little insignificant spider lives matter.
A call has gone out across our nation. “All lives matter.” Those chanting the phrase may be referring to human lives, but these spiders gave me a starting point.
Ever meet someone that you disliked? As much as I dislike spiders? In a few short weeks my attitude towards spiders has turned from despise to appreciation. All it took was a little empathy. Seems like the same could be true for the people we may dislike or misunderstand. They, like me, like the spider, like you, are simply living.
Look at these stunning spider webs. Look at the intricacies of their design. Can you pull something that beautiful out of your butt?
Look at how they enhance the sunshine that pours through them. How could anything that makes something so delicate, and so intricate be anything but a blessing in my life?