Today’s post comes from Linda
Last fall a small spider took up residence underneath a cabinet next to my kitchen sink. At the time, and the kitchen sink seemed to be Fruit Fly Central Station. I have never been particularly spooked by arachnids, so I left the little spider alone. Having something hunting the fruit flies seemed a fair trade-off for a few sticky webs.
A character from a children’s book is likely responsible for my charitable attitude toward spiders. We all grew up with Charlotte, of course, brought to life so memorably by E.B. White. Later in life I came upon a poem by the same author that captured my fancy.
The Spider’s Web (A Natural History)
The spider, dropping down from twig,
Unfolds a plan of her devising,
A thin premeditated rig
To use in rising.
And all that journey down through space,
In cool descent and loyal hearted,
She spins a ladder to the place
From where she started.
Thus I, gone forth as spiders do,
In spider’s web a truth discerning,
Attach one silken thread to you
For my returning.
I’ve never known which came first, the book or the poem. But to me the spider in the poem is undoubtedly Charlotte, with her loyal heart.
When winter moved in the fruit fly problem went away, as it always does in cold weather. Through the winter I’d regularly see the spider, still parked underneath the cabinet. I thought about knocking down the web from time to time, but instead I’d just clear part of the space, leaving some web way back under the cabinet, where the spider would retreat and bide its time.
Spring approached, and still the spider remained. Finally I resolved to move her outdoors, as the weather was getting warm enough for the creature’s survival. One day as we were close to being past that last cold snap, I had a talk with her. Look, I said aloud, I haven’t minded having you spend the cold months here. But now that it’s getting warm, I’d rather you went outside. It’ll be better for you, too, since there will be insects out there for you to trap, and it’s probably been months since you’ve captured anything in this location. It’s time to go. In a couple of days I’ll put you in jar and take you outside. I don’t want to hurt you, and I’ll be careful.
I returned that weekend with the intention of carrying out the relocation, but the spider was not there. For a couple of weeks I checked back, but my tenant seemed to have vacated.
Now fruit flies have taken up residence again in my kitchen. Last week I found a web in the bowl that sits in the old Hamilton-Beach stand mixer. A small eight-legged jobseeker is looking for seasonal work. Experienced pest control technician; will work for food.
What would you hire a non-human to do?