Friday, July 25, 2008

charlotte and her web(s)

I’m not sure when I began to fear spiders. My early spider memories are of Charlotte and her web and the itsy bitsy spider crawling up the water spout, so when my fear originated is a mystery to me.

I knew before I moved to Point Reyes that if I wanted to live in such a place I’d have to learn to coexist with these eight legged creatures. This photograph was taken on a hike about a month before we started looking for a place in West Marin to call our own. It was during an early morning stroll and we were amazed by the amount of webs. They were everywhere we turned, covered with dew, and glistening in the sunshine. How could something I’d come to find so awful and creepy create such beautiful and functional sculptural work?

Since then we have moved into the house and I have slowly gotten used to these little silk producers. There are so many and such a wide variety that I really didn’t have a choice. They weren’t leaving and I wasn’t leaving. If I attempted to get rid of them, in a county like West Marin, I’d be stoned to death. Best of all, they do control evil-doers in the garden such as aphids and cucumber beetles.

When I found this little tidbit I realized I had more in common with the female spider than I knew. You know how it is, sometimes when I've skipped a meal and waited just a bit too long,'s hard to even see straight. As poor Chris knows all to well, life isn’t fun for anyone when I’m hungry…

Males are sometimes killed by females. In at least some of these cases it is likely that the males are simply mistaken as prey. The risk of this happening is greater if the female is hungry. To counter this, some male spiders offer a "bribe" to the female, in form of a fly or other prey, prior to the mating.

So the fear subsides and we share the property, but my curiosity stops there. There is no real future for us and we’ll never be pest pals. I adore the intelligence and artistic abilities of many of these spiders inhabiting the premises, but I can’t imagine I’ll ever be happy about sharing my shower with one, even if she happens to be a cousin of my good friend the scorpion. We’ll just tolerate each other as indifferent neighbors sometimes do.


  1. Ha! I never tolerate them in the shower either (but don't tell English hubby)...

    Hope the photo on my post didn't freeze your blood cold.

  2. No way, I love that photo! I'm okay with spiders now. Point Reyes and all of my spider experience somehow took the fear away.