Monday, October 15, 2012


Newport News
For the past few weeks, as I've applied my limited handyman-skills to our little house in Virginia, I've fought various battles against ants, bees, and the American Cockroach.  In all of these engagements against household invaders I've felt that I occupied a kind of moral high ground, harboring a sense that, unlike my insect opponents I belonged there, and had the right to use force (often deadly force) to unseat them from their accustomed habitats.

Not so with this particular denizen of the Epps manse...
This beautiful spider set up shop just a few days after I arrived from New York, spinning her web immediately outside my den window.  Day after day as I dealt with paperwork or un-tangled the interesting tale of our former tenants (since evicted as they felt dis-inclined to pay their agreed--and quite reasonable--monthly rent), I'd glance up and out from my desk to watch her getting her house in order, snaring her next meal, or resting with legs curled tightly about 1/2-inch carapace, resembling an orange diamond when she did so. 

Perhaps it is reflective of the loneliness of my "geo-bachelor" existence (Lucy has remained in New York as we prepare to move south whilst I returned to duty) that I developed something of a friendly relationship with this arachnid--friendly on my part, anyway.  I was careful not to disturb her web when cleaning outside the den or mowing the grass, and cheered in her favor whenever a wandering Anopheles or beetle flew too close to her sticky snare.

I have always been fascinated by spiders--the larger and hairier the better.  Considering my history with eight-legged critters (I was bitten by a Brown Recluse about ten years ago--it's necrotic venom dissolved a sugar-cube-sized portion of my chest.  A disgusting experience, and quite painful as well!) one might expect that I'd be trying to squash "Charlotte" rather than photographing her.  Despite this past , I find myself examining webs and following Wolf Spiders through the grass, enraptured by the quick movements, the acrobatics, the various habits of these creatures.

Unfortunately, all good things must end.  Yesterday I noticed that my "roomie"s web hung empty and un-kept, and a careful search of the side of the house revealed no clue as to her whereabouts.  The nights grow cooler, and insects less numerous than only a few days ago; she might already be wintering-over, waiting for spring's warmth to return.

Maybe I'll see her next year.

No comments:

Post a Comment