I like spiders. I find them elegant and just a little bit frightening, which is a fascinating combination for me. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not afraid of spiders. As long as they are not on my body, I don’t mind spotting them outside or in my house , though if I find them in my house, they are quickly escorted out of the house. I have a cup specifically designated as the Spider Catching Cup.
Spiders haunt my dreams. Big spiders, little spiders, hairy spiders, flying spiders. They usually aren’t doing anything in my dreams, much as a spider on the wall in my house isn’t doing anything. These aren’t nightmares, but they are usually pretty creepy. Pun intended. The most recent dream I remember involved black widow spiders living in my grass. I was trying to get across the yard barefoot, but didn’t realize how dangerous that was until I was already out in the middle and had to either keep going or go back.
Since moving into this house, I have discovered that quite a vast array of spiders live in my yard. The back deck is home to a lot of itty bitty jumping spiders that like to sneak in through the screen door. The lawn is full of skinny spiders that stalk the little grass moths. The rock gardens are full of tunnel-weaving spiders who lurk just out of view. The vegetable garden is full of fast spiders with giant eyes who make the most amazing flying leaps to catch flies or even other spiders. One of these found a really good hunting spot on the tallest stalk of corn in the garden. I used to say hi to him when I went out to pick peas.
But my favorite spider – the one I started calling my pet spider – was an orb-weaver who set up shop between the rails of my deck and one of the trees nearby. I’d never seen a spider like her before. Tan with darker patches, she was rather hairy and had two points sticking up on her back. After a little searching, I discovered that she is an orb-weaving barn spider, araneus cavaticus, the same as Charlotte.
And like Charlotte, my spider has moved on. After holding court on my back deck for four months, she has disappeared. Like Charlotte, she also left behind several dozen babies (though earlier in the spring). I suppose that means I may have a new pet spider next year. I hope so.