And may I just say, ewwww
This greeted me when I, innocently, stepped out of the utility room door with a bag of garbage to put into the can. It is not unusual, especially this time of year, for me to do this particular chore slowly. All along the fence on that side of the house is honeysuckle and jasmine growing wildly. It hangs in thick curtains of beautiful white blossoms and fills the side yard with the most beautiful fragrance that I cannot resist the urge to linger for a moment before turning around and stepping back into the house. That is when I saw it.
That side of the house is not especially attractive. Not only does it house the garbage cans behind a tall fence protecting the view from passersby, but also bicycles, the massive AC unit and an ancient and broken wheelbarrow that came with the house and still sits in it's original spot, unmoved, because I haven't yet figured out who to get rid of the darned thing. There is a narrow pathway between the fence and the house that is mostly sand underfoot with a few stepping stones that someone placed far too close to the shrubbery that grows along the house. Occasionally a bunny and I surprise each other when I step outside, always there are lizards and once or twice a large bird strolling through. But this is the first time for me to spy a spider web here.
The thing is massive, well over a foot across, and sits high up in the air suspended between trees. It could catch birds. While I was initially startled to turn around and see this enormous web glistening in the early sun far above my head, once I got over the ick shudders, I could not help but to marvel at the engineering involved. Truly it is beautiful in it's own way. I was kind of wowed. I went back inside and dragged out my trusty step stool to see better (and obviously brought my camera as well).
I know very well that spiders are arachnids and not insects, but I apply the same rules to both. As long as you aren't in the house and you do not touch me, it's live and let live. That is the rule. The only time I do not adhere to this rule is when it's a blood-sucking bug: mosquitos, fleas and ticks do not get a pass from me. Ever. I have no idea if I am upsetting some important ecological balance with this policy but blood-sucking bugs die. Period.
I am well aware that spiders are unlikely to hurt me and in fact, eat some of the bugs I do not especially want hanging around. Of course I also know that there are a few spiders that CAN hurt me. I've read about how to identify them. On the other hand, I have no intention of getting close enough to one to hunt for it's identifying marks. So I tend to treat all spiders with great caution and admire them and their handiwork from a distance.
So there I am teetering atop my stepstool, admiring this super-duper spider web and then I saw it. I'm sure you noticed it as well. If you look closely enough at this photograph, you can see that there is something large and dark in the center of the web. I paused. It was a Hmmmm moment for sure. I do not know if that is the spider or her prey. I do not think I care to know. If it's the spider, it is a rather large one. On the other hand, if it is her prey, it would be logical to assume that the spider is even larger. So unless this is a Davy and Goliath deal, I can only say yikes! Does that mean that somewhere out there on the side of the house is a spider with a body the size of a mouse?
I creeped myself out. How will I ever take out the garbage again? Never again will I be able to retrieve my bicycle and just pause for a moment to breath in that amazing fragrance of honeysuckle and jasmine without assuming that there is a large economy sized spider lurking, laying in wait for it's moment to pounce!
Slowly and carefully I got down off my steps, folded it up and quietly went back into the house, never once taking my eyes off the web. Once my heart stopped pounding, I chastised myself for being ridiculous. And I am. I know that I am. Simple foolishness is all it is. And yet.....and yet....
I am well aware that I need to take the garbage cans to the curb tonight. I believe I will do this while it's still daylight and I can keep a close eye on that spider web. My rule may be live and let live but I'm not certain what her rule is. And until I do know, I think that since Discretion is the better part of Valour, I will just be Very Very cautious.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.