Lions and Spiders and Fears, Oh My!

Breaking News!  Alert!  This just in…… my daughter killed a spider this week.  Her first. Ever.

For seventeen years, our darling girl  has depended upon…. no…wait…..demanded that others take care of her spiders for her.  This task usually falls upon her dad,  a gentle soul who does it because he both adores the girl-child and because he can’t take the high-pitched sounds that she makes if he doesn’t become her hired man.

Not Mom.

It is essential to be able to kill your own spiders.  After all,  she is nearly an adult,  for heaven’s sake.  I was in the middle of something and didn’t want to move off the couch, and because her father was sound asleep, I drew a line in the carpet. No more proxy spidercide in our home. The thought of some  poor, unsuspecting future roommate forced to witness  my otherwise quite sweet, reasonable child screaming like a banshee next year put me over the edge.   Visions  of potential troops of   spiders, cockroaches, and silverfish marching in formation  across their dorm room floor was the catalyst for this policy. And so, I waited her out.

Ten minutes.  That’s right.  Ten minutes of “Eeeewwwwww…a spider! MOM!  MOMMY! EEEEWWWWWW! MOMMMMMM!” as  the spider, oblivious, advanced.  Finally. A lull.  Silence.  The spider looked at me. He looked at her. I think I heard a tiny sigh.  I shrugged.  Glaring, she marched across the room,  grabbed  her brother’s unbelievably gross tennis shoe and smacked him.

The spider, not the brother.

Smart Girl.  If she’d waited another two minutes I probably would’ve grabbed the shoe and bonked HER on her head with it. We live in Minnesota. In the woods. We have spiders. The spiders are cold and weary. They see a crack of light under the door and think, “hey, it’s Tuesday! I wonder if it’s a new episode of “Glee!” They come in.  I get it. 

This one was about the size of a pea.  Really. I checked.

Now,  the wood spiders and wolf spiders at the cabin are an entirely different type of house guest.  If you have never seen one, imagine a tarantula crossed with a chipmunk who likes  hockey.  Huge, hairy beasts, they are.  And sly.  They tend more toward “Twilight Zone” reruns. They are tricksters who love to hide in between the sheets, hang upside down on cabin  walls, and leer at humans in outhouses where, if you aren’t certain of whether or not you had to  “go” before you sit down, you most certainly DO once you realize in horror that you aren’t alone in that stinky, dark, four foot square building.  I know….eeeewwwwww.  Tell me about it.

What do you fear most?  For my daughter, spiders top the list.  Other critters like bats, mice, and snakes certainly make the “Creeper” list for many people.  Even the most stridently non-violent among us aren’t above taking a tennis racket or garden shovel or, yes, even a shoe to the  invaders we want out of our lives, our homes. And while we might not be tickled about having to end the life something smaller and weaker,  we do it because we are superior creatures, and because well, they give us the creeps, and mainly because we can, I suppose.  It’s  survival of  the biggest….the toughest…..the smartest…..the fittest.  And we are the ones with the shoes.

Works pretty well most of the time, doesn’t it?  At least for us non-spider types.

We are watching natural and political disasters unfold in a month that came in with a roar.  The word “epic” doesn’t even begin to describe what’s happening in Japan;  the images are a grim reminder of what the forces of nature can do to the human race.  The daily reports out of Libya remind us that nature isn’t the only force to fear.

The world turns…the month of March grinds us down with each new snowstorm, and those of us who live in places like the woods of northern Minnesota eat our dinner, watch a sit-com, or maybe  a spider. We say goodnight to our dear ones, and before drifting off under the glow of the Northern Lights outside,  say a prayer for the rest of the babies of the world,  for their parents, for the leaders who have to decide when to use a shoe against the wolf spiders lurking in the shadows.

In the end, I believe that most of us are more like my daughter’s spider.  Minding our own business, trying to find our way, looking for that crack of light in order to come in from the cold.

Waiting for Spring.

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