My Pet

Don’t tell my landlord, but, I have a pet.  It is a False Black Widow, and she hangs upside down in her web at the right angle of the wall and baseboard heater near my front door.  Her name is Susan. Susan is very productive. Her web acts as a billboard of her health and possible mood. Sometimes I notice little black dots of dead gnats or other bug bits on her web-stoop and wonder if she’s eating light.  Other days it looks like she takes happy little spider laps around my muddy boot tray tracing thin strings of web behind her as she wanders.

False Black Widow
I first discovered Susan one Sunday morning.

The human eye is complex.  With direct threads to the brain, you would think we would never question what we see.  However, there are certain shapes, colors, or movements, that, when spotted in the corner of our eyes, we may believe, for a fraction of a second, we are under attack.  I am convinced we have our early ancestors to thank for this heart racing reaction…and those freaking Velociraptors. One morning, me without my glasses on, scuffling through the kitchen half asleep, around the pillar, past my front door, thinking of nothing but “Do I have enough coffee to make two cups” when my god-dang heart freakin’ stopped!  An alien-claw-like “thing” was sitting on the floor by the baseboard heater. It was dark gray. It had legs. It, thankfully, was not moving…but was it alive?

Test one: turn on the light.  It doesn’t move.
Test two: get a little closer making large movements.  It still didn’t move.
Test three: put on glasses and face your enemy.

Returning with glasses on and ready to fight, I discover that the “alien claw” is, in fact, the carcass of the LARGEST Wolf Spider I have ever seen.  The Wolf Spider is a non-poisonous house spider found in many Northwest homes. I grew up in the Northwest and I’m familiar with this arthropod. A different part of my brain takes over.  This is a natural science situation. After an hour of deep thinking, keeping one eye on the eight-legged horror, I came to this conclusion: this is either the molting skin of a very large spider that took up residence in that hole behind the freaking baseboard heater, OR another larger spider killed this large spider.  Either way, there’s a large spider in that hole behind the freaking baseboard heater and what the hell!

It turns out that the large dead spider was killed by the petite, nickel sized False Black Widow. Impressed by this, I named her.  Long live Susan.

A Wolf Spider out for a midnight walk. Susan protect us!

 

 

Spider in the Corner

spider meme

Rushing through my day I find few places to sit and rest, gather myself, collect my thoughts.  There is one place, a secret place, I found that I’d like to share with you.

Somewhere on the college campus between room 120 and the math lab is a restroom.  Restrooms are common and not much of a secret but I found something secret inside this restroom between room 120 and the math lab: a spider’s home.

This humble home is positioned perfectly on the floor between the tiled wall and the stainless steel footing of the stall frame.  The janitor’s mop has yet to find it. For the last five weeks I have noticed that this spider is busy.  Some days the nest is messy with potato bug carcass and hair, other times it’s clean, quietly waiting for dinner to drop by.  Today I discovered another spider, dead and dry, it’s juices enjoyed, all curled up at the top of the flossy web, left out to hang like a flag of victory.  Now it’s getting interesting…

I’d like to offer up that this barbaric scene of the spider world is natures version of the television series.  Time will not allow me to binge-watch this adventure.  Binge-watching is when you watch a whole season(s) of a show back to back until your brain turns to mush.  The last time I did this was with AMC’s “The Walking Dead” seasons 1-4 in 3 days.  I was almost zombie material by the end of that binge. Pun intended.

movealong

So here is this little frame of nature, inside a tiled room, the spider is just living—doing it’s thing.  Everyday that space, that three inch bit of real estate, looks a little different.  Although I have yet to see the spider, I can guess how it’s day is going based on the condition of it’s web.  I always take a quick look when I can.  Today, after five weeks of spying, I asked myself “Why?” (I’m slow like that)

I thought about the time birds built a nest under my roof and I listened to the sound of the babys growing stronger, tweeting louder, until they left.  I thought about my  flower garden in Port Orchard and watching different flowers and bushes changed throughout the seasons. I remembered years of watching a neighbors slow progress repairing their “fixer-upper” home, until I could no longer see the old house it use to be.   I thought about my children and nephews growing, needing new shoes, needing hair cuts, growing up, changing.

I like progress.  I like to watch things grow.  It is the best show to watch.

tumblr_lsogs20yVQ1qf2jixo1_400