A Summer of Spiders

Friday, August 24th, 2012

We didn’t kill spiders at my house. My daddy used to tell me the legend of Robert the Bruce and how the spider helped him save Scotland. I suppose that was one of the reasons. We liked Scotland and were glad it had been saved. Now, come to think of it, I don’t remember finding a lot of other insects in our house but perhaps that was because my dad dispatched them too quickly for me to notice, or perhaps it was just that we lived in the city where insects are not quite as welcome as in the country.

Insects love farms. While I’ve not gotten over my bone-shuddering reaction to earwigs and my utter distaste for flies, I’ve gradually come to find the variety of insects fascinating. I do not include stinkbugs in this category, but stinkbugs fall under the category of “alien invader” and not insect, as any Marylander will tell you. As I age, my eyesight seems to narrow – that is to say, without contact lenses or spectacles, my naked eye has magnifying glass-type vision. This is a great aid in examining tiny insects. Quite a few flying things make their way into my house, and they especially seem to like the humidity of the bathroom which is handy since the light is quite good in there. Since I am more used to creatures weighing well over 100 pounds who have heft, it’s a different experience for me to spend time with these complexly constructed, delicate creatures who often have many colors, funny looking little bulging eyes, and wings so light and thin that it seems just a breeze would tear them apart. I do not kill them. Well, except the flies who are impossible to kill anyhow; and I suppose that flies, too, have funny bulging eyes and many colors and delicate wings, but there is the hell of being human – we really don’t believe in equal opportunity, at least when it comes to bugs.

All this is to say that I don’t have much luck in ridding my house of any of the extraneous life that has sought haven here.

This summer I’ve seen a burgeoning population of spiders. Every morning I find half a dozen or more spiders, many of them babies, stuck in my bathtub. I don’t know if they are the same ones every day who are having some serious learning difficulties about the nature of bathtubs, or if there are spider orgies happening under my roof and babies are popping out daily. I’ve had to reserve a good 5 minutes of every morning to rescue the spidies from my tub before I start running the water. I don’t mind. Spiders are good. Not only did they save Scotland, but they also eat other insects, saving me the trouble of making life and death decisions. While humans think that they like to play God, asserting their autonomy in every which fool way à la Adam, the truth is that when face to face with these choices we balk. I don’t know if that is because we are cowards, unsure of ourselves (“what was the question again?”), or whether there really is a higher order that we should be respecting.

For me – for the moment I’ll leave it to the spiders, and will try to make their stay in my abode as comfortable as possible.

“O ye’ll tak’ the high road and I’ll tak the low road,
An’ I’ll be in Scotland afore ye.”
— old Scottish ballad, author unknown

Till next time,

Farmer Anne
Star Gazing Farm 501(c)3
A haven for retired farm animals and wayward goats

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