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Friday, May 24, 2024

God's Great Big Beautiful World

One of these was on my patio this morning

The very first week we moved back to Florida 26 years ago, a baby pygmy rattlesnake placed itself across the bedroom threshold as I was carrying in fresh laundry to be folded. Squinting my eyes in order to see what it was, I leaned over and that thing struck at my face. I screamed and ran back into the kitchen wondering what to do. Eventually I managed to get it into a bucket, placed it outside then hysterically called my brother. Over the phone he said, "What's the matter with you? You grew up in Florida. You know we have lizards and spiders and snakes and alligators."

He came over, took one look in the bucket and said it was a baby pygmy rattlesnake. I yelled, "Well, killit! KILLIT!" He took the bucket to the nearby swamp and released that lethal thing. Said he didn't want to kill it. Me: Why not?! It's just gonna grow up and come back and kill someone! My brother merely sighed.

Then a month after that I popped a large spider in the hallway with my shoe. The spider's egg sac burst and hundreds of baby spiders were suddenly everywhere. Talk about hysterical. Not long after that I started keeping bottles of Ortho pesticide spray in the kitchen and bathrooms within easy reach. 

All these years later, even after getting monthly pest protection services, I still keep bottles of Ortho nearby because there's always, from time to time - usually first thing in the morning as I walk into the kitchen to make coffee - that dramatic giant roach lying on its back with its feet running in the air seeking my help to turn it over so it can continue on its way. Sauntering by I tell it to stop with all the drama, get the Ortho, spray it, make my coffee then scoop it up and toss it in the trash.

As a child growing up in Florida we sometimes had large brown recluse spiders on the walls or ceilings. That's where my spider phobia originated. Until last month we had never seen a brown recluse in this house, but as I gradually opened my eyes one morning a month ago and looked at the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, there on the wall above her was a huge brown recluse - so big it practically had antlers.

I was horrified. Couldn't move. Just looked at it, again wondering what to do, how to kill it before it escaped. Gradually pulling back the covers, I slipped out and into the bathroom, got the trusty bottle of Ortho, tiptoed near the bookcase and sprayed the spider, hoping for the best.

After two quick spurts, it dropped down behind the bookcase. Sighing, I thought I'd look later to see if it was dead but went on my way and forgot. The next morning it was by the bedroom sliding glass door to the patio. In its death throes it had managed to crawl across the room hoping to get outside, but finding the glass door closed it died there in a crumpled heap. Yea! Was I a big bad spider killer or what.

Yet this morning when I went out on the patio there was a giant spider's web from the patio screen all the way down to the flowerpots. In the middle was a tiny spider no bigger than my thumbnail. I could only see its underside, so taking the broom I swept the web away, but turning the broom over saw the tiniest yellow and white spider with red spikes. Thinking, That looks like a crab! I took a closer look. It was indeed a spider, but looked exactly like a polka-dotted mini pea crab with bright red spines.

For once I didn't think kill kill kill but marveled at its beauty. It was so beautiful. So little and tiny. So shiny and perfect. I thought, "Wow. Look at this! Look at You, God! This little creature...this tiny spider that You created is so BEAUTIFUL! It's amazing!"

Via the Internet I discovered that it was a Crab Spider, Gasteracantha cancriformis, not harmful.....and very cute!

First I thought of letting it continue to live on the patio, then eventually decided it would be happier outside so placed it in the bushes along the front of the house. 

1 comment:

  1. That's what I like about living in Northeastern Vermont, no poisonous bugs or reptiles. Even in the animal kingdom there is only one thing to worry about and that is coming between a black bear and her cubs. I can count the number of times on one hand that I have even seen a snake in my entire life. Pests are rare, I've never seen a Roach in the house nor termites. If you can deal with the winters (I can) this is a wonderful place to live, politics not wthstanding.