I don’t like spiders.So why in the world was I chasing a tarantula with a convenience store soda cup like I had good sense?
I love nature and I love opportunities to learn and to teach my children. So when we were all piled in the car leaving their grandparents’ home in Louisiana several years back, I thought it would be a wonderful learning opportunity to catch one of the hairy 3- to 4-inch tarantulas crossing the road not far from their house.
I pulled over and my wife and I jumped out and hurried back to where the spiders were. One was still in the middle of the road and I scooped it up in my soda cup I had just emptied getting out of the car.
We turned back toward the car to take it for the kids to see and we heard screams. All of the children were jumping up and down shaking heads, waving hands, rocking the vehicle all over the place and screaming things that basically translated to, “Please, Mother, Father, do not bring the arachnid closer. We would rather not examine it closely.”
“Mercy,” I said, shaking my head, and I let the critter go.
It was only after I got back in the car and asked them why they were so afraid that I realized if that spider had jumped out of the cup onto me I would have screamed even louder.
I had a nasty encounter with a brown recluse years later and almost lost a large portion of my left bicep. What was essentially a miraculous healing was attributed in part by the doctor to my body mass index.
He said he didn’t mean to offend me, but my fat probably absorbed most of the poison keeping it from reaching my heart before I could be treated. I’ve never been so grateful to have excess fat.
There are a couple of other spider-centric encounters from my youth that probably caused me to not want close encounters with spiders, but I remain fascinated with watching them do their thing.
Spiders are essential to our ecosystems. It’s why we don’t kill them when they take up residence in window frame corners or outside decks and bushes.
There may be lots of things in this world we don’t understand or fully appreciate that are necessary for our world to run smoothly. Spiders are just one of many.
Now if I could just figure out a good reason for mosquitoes.