Ponder this:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Indoor wildlife

ID Please - Pholcus phalangioides
In my bathroom last night I noticed an infinitesimal dust bunny stuck at the bottom of the door. I poked at it because it didn't look exactly like the dust bunnies that ordinarily grow in my corners. It was a little spider. 
Was it dead? 
I poked again. It stirred. I must have woken it up. 
I gave it a gentle sweep with my finger and it lumbered flimsily down off its roost and set off across the floor  and hid up underneath the radiator where it apparently felt safe from my curiosity. 

I used to be an arachnophobe. I couldn't kill spiders because my feeble whacking (while making loud and ugly nonverbal noises of fright) only wounded them, and their crippled gimping horrified me more than their able-bodied mobility. 


Now I'm friendlier with spiders. It comes of living in the country where they own the earth and all its structures. So last night as I watched that little thing, a Pholcus phalangioides, wobble across the floor on its fragile legs I felt sorry for the little guy. Or girl. One is bigger than the other but I'm not planning on a breeding program, so it isn't important to me: I don't retain that information. Whichever sex this one was, its body was about the size of a dessicated baby mousie poop (don't ask how I know that) and its legs were as fine as the hairs on a human infant's head. The whole contraption looked . . . and traveled . . . like a broken umbrella frame in a gentle breeze. Hard to believe that such a creature leads a successful life, fribbling and weebling hither and yon, but apparently it's working for him. He has a nice life up there under the warm dry radiator. 
Maybe he'd been on vacation on the door, taking the air, and I ruined it.

32 comments:

Rural Rambler said...

Ok. I am smiling. I am hooked. I love to read your words that form sentences that are proof of your wicked wit. And you crack me up. I love funny. I need funny in my life. I have a wicked wit too, although it is hidden from my blog rambles. I am not sure how I found my way here, but so happy to have found you. FRIDGE SOUP. Love it too. Oh, and I'm thinking your spider is a little girl.

"The whole contraption looked . . . and traveled . . . like a broken umbrella frame in a gentle breeze." Beautifully funny. I see her clearly through your words. *sigh*

Rural Rambler said...

I am stuck with your sleep pattern too! The fault of menohhhhhpause.

liZZie said...

Absolutely blummin wonderful to find another person who uses the word 'gimping'! Fribble and bifurcate can be similarly deployed occasionally ;-)

Tracy said...

UGH, I don't like spiders...however, I have found a more compassionate side and don't kill them upon first glance anymore. In fact to be truthful, I don't because I don't like the crunch sound they tend to make when they are smooshed...
I love your language in this piece; much like Rural Rabler explained...very gentle...

Hilary said...

Oh I have to fight my urge to swipe at them. It's a struggle but they are winning lately. They do indeed able along "like a broken umbrella frame in a gentle breeze." So well put.

Woodswalker said...

I'm so glad to know you have not only overcome your dislike of spiders (amazing creatures that they are), but can write about one with such affection and delight. Thanks for this account.

Pauline said...

It never occurred to me that I might be ruining a spider's vacation when I suck it up the vacuum hose! Now my spider-filled,after-life hell seems even worse than before! That notwithstanding, this was a marvelous post - I'm smiling and shaking my head.

morningbrayfarm said...

Oh June, June, June. I simply love your way with words. This post is brilliant!

When will you write a book? I want to read it.

June said...

Oh my, MBFarm. That would be The Dream, of course. I'll do it just as soon as a publisher hunts me down and makes an offer.
Don't hold your breath. :-p

#1Nana said...

Loved the description, but I hate spiders. As a child I was too afraid to kill them, but I grew up and now have no fear. If you let them live they find a mate and soon you have them everywhere!!! Call me, I'd be happy to stop by and stomp on him/her for you. Hummm, maybe that could be my community service in retirement...hired gun, spider stomper

Fran said...

I'm okay with thin-legged spiders like that, but not the big fat ones with hairy legs which have elbows.

rachel said...

Blimey, so many people to whom the term karma has no meaning!

I don't think I could handle a spider, but I couldn't kill one either - surely there's room for them and us? Mine do get put outside to continue their little lives, though....

Rusty said...

Spiders too have their important place in the scheme of things. Many have a facinating life story to tell if one has the patience to observe. They are probably also the biggest family of living creatures - bar none! That said - there are certainly places I don't want spiders, though that also depends on the type. To know them and understand a little about them is to loose what seems to be a natural fear humans have of spiders. ATB!

Rosanne said...

Reading this has given me a little twinge of guilt. I am not so afraid of spiders as I was when I was young. I have been known to rescue (and release) a tarantula or two...but I still squish the black widows that find their way into my domain.

Jinksy said...

fribbling and weebling hither and yon

Wnderful! LOL :) I shall never look at one of those fragile spiders in the same light again... Brokrn umbrella struts a SO exact...

Vicki Lane said...

Wonderful description! I'm fascinated by spiders -- they seem dignified somehow.

Sandra said...

In my home, the last thing he would have heard was...squash...

Lord Wellbourne said...

I'm all for kindness to creatures great and small but....spiders? As always, June, you are able to turn a revolting hideosity into something bordering on charming with the magic spell you weave with words. As for me--an avowed arachnophobe--give me a lighter and a can of hairspray. No stomping, no crunching, and very little soot. Anything that weaves a silken web and then waits for something unable to extricate itself from the slickery threads is an anathema. They're like multi-limbed telemarketers.

Barb said...

Your spider was probably on vacation from CO! One winter I went out on my cross country skis and saw a little black speck wobbling toward me on the snow. It was a spider that went right between my skis and continued on its journey. Who knew they would survive outdoors in such cold conditions? I don't, however, much enjoy when they infest my house! Have a good holiday, June. I hope you have a brief respite from work.

VM Sehy Photography said...

That is an awesome spider. I hope he has a good life near the radiator.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

To be able to see the gallantry in a spider is wonderful . And to be so gentle with it is even better .
(And no , I'm not desperately keen on them close too , either , but wish them no harm.)

June said...

Lest anyone think that I court spiders into residence in my house, the big ones do get relocated outdoors. I don't need them washing my back while I'm taking a shower. This little resident, though, is like a jewelry box ballerina . . . just a delicate little nothing of a spider.
There must be some reason s/he's there, and s/he must be performing some function that would otherwise be undone.

Mac n' Janet said...

You do know about the Christmas spider who spun the first tinsel on the tree don't you?

Carolina said...

Awww, cute. Have you given him/her a name? You could knit it a tiny Christmas sweater. But that would just be silly. Wouldn't be a big project though ;-)

June said...

I saw him/her again this morning, and actually considered naming . . . it.
The sweater . . . since the creature makes its own silk, finer than any I could use . . . it would be silly, I guess.

June said...

No, Mac'n'Janet, I don't know that story, but it sounds just precious!

Lord Wellbourne said...

I wish to clarify my earlier statement. I only obliterate the monsters within the confines of my home. I do not harm them out of doors. If there is a confrontation in natural surroundings I yield to their right of way.

slommler said...

Yep! I am sure he was on a vacation of a traveling sort. Ha!
Merry Christmas and congrats on your POTW!
Hugs
SueAnn

gaelikaa said...

It's funny - when I lived in Ireland I was terrified of mice and rats. I now live in India and see them much more often than I did then. They don't bother me half as much now.

Cricket said...

Fribbling and weebling, huh? I'll have to remember that. I made my peace with spiders long ago, on the theory that they rarely bite and they often eat things that do. Fair enough, I say. i'll take it.

Congratulations on your potw.

CherylK said...

The umbrella metaphor is simply perfect. I don't like spiders but they don't terrify me so I'm willing to live and let live.

Big congrats on your POTW from Hilary, by the way. Well deserved.

lynne said...

I have ust found you! well your blog, i cannot remember how, i think a long windey road from a blog called the hermitage.
Anyway, the way you describe and see things is much in the same way as i do, thank god im not alone! and great that you actually can get it into words, in a succinct and hysterical way.
You made me laugh and you made me chuckle and sigh today.
Thank you for that.