The Suitcase Lady

Spiders

October 23, 2007, 11:12 pm

I confess to a great fondness for spiders. Spiders are creators of great beauty, and I’m a sucker for visual delights.

The Navajos have a lovely story about Spider Woman who lives under the ground. Changing Woman visits Spider Woman and is taught how to weave, with one condition. Changing Woman must teach other Navajo women the art of weaving. Since Navajo women are some of the greatest weavers in the world, Spider Woman must be pleased.

On certain magical mornings, when the dew covers our meadow and the sunrise is just right, everything in the yard is looped with webs outlined in sparkling drops. That’s when I remember that we live absolutely surrounded by spiders all the time.

The spiders on the outside walls of our house and I carry on a polite ballet. I hate to destroy their gorgeous handiwork. But if I don’t occasionally cleanup, they proceed to “seal” all our outside doors and windows with their lacy webs. After my gentle cleaning, they can spin new orb webs in about an hour.

As I explain to kids in my science classes, spiders don’t chase people. Their venom is for getting lunch. All spider bites are accidents, so it behooves us large-brained mammals not to stick our body parts in dark corners or lonesome woodpiles.

The largest spider I’ve ever met was the size of a teacup. It was curled up taking a daytime nap in a rainforest tree in Costa Rica. This tarantula was definitely not a woman-eater, and I feel privileged to have encountered it.

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