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Close Encounters

September 25, 2015


 Lately, I’ve been taking after dinner walks to help my digestion and get me off the couch. Several days ago as I prepared to hit the pavement, I stepped out onto our front steps and saw a spider hanging in midair right in front of me. I hate killing things and studied the spider for a moment. It appeared to be defying gravity, floating in front of me, but when I crouched down and turned towards the sun, I could see the glint of the web supporting it. I carefully pinched the web at both ends, careful not to disturb the spider and relocated it in a nearby bush. I felt for not killing a creature that was just trying to make a living finding food in the form of insects I didn’t want in the house anyway.


The next day the spider was back in the same place, as if waiting for me to walk into it. I repeated the process from the day before, again releasing the spider on the bush. Day three, and there was that ungrateful spider, again dangling in front of our stairs where anyone coming or going would bump into it. This time I didn’t hesitate and squashed it between my palms before continuing with my walk. There are limits to my kindness when it comes to arachnids.


Yesterday I was taking my after dinner walk and I had another spidery encounter. Our complex has wonderful paths and walkways and I was passing through some Japanese maples, my brain focused on the painting I’m working on and not paying much attention to where I was going. When I reached the sidewalk, I noticed a spider in front of me, much larger than the tiny one I’d dispatched the day before. Without thinking, I ran from it as fast as I could go, like a cat with its tail on fire. When I stopped to catch my breath, the spider was still in front of me. I ran faster. My glasses were foggy and I was drenched in sweat when I stopped.


Again, there was the spider, seemingly scowling at me. Was it related to the creepy crawler I killed? Was it out to get me? I wanted to get as far from it as I could, but somehow this bugger was able to keep up with me.


I’m hardly a fast runner, but I think I can outrun a spider, yet this one had no trouble keeping up with me. Suddenly, a thought crossed my mind. I carefully removed the hat I wear on my walks, a souvenir from our trip to Switzerland, and saw that the spider was dangling from the brim. I felt like a moron.


I placed the spider on a nearby bush. If I encounter it again and it tries to cop another ride, I’m gonna squish it.












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I prefer catch and release as well, but that one on the porch would've tried my patience. Did anyone see you run like a maniac?
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on September 25, 2015
I don't really get why people are freaked out about spiders. I like spiders. when we first looked at the country house there were huge webs with huge golden orb weavers all over (the house had been vacant for a year or more). after we moved in though, they went elsewhere. too much activity I guess. the small ones around here now like to pick a spot, usually because there is a light nearby that draws insects so it seems like a good dinner spot.
By: Ellen Abbott on September 25, 2015
You're a kind man--it would never have occurred to me to relocate a spider web!!
By: fishducky on September 25, 2015
Orb weavers! They create works of art, but it sure is unpleasant walking into them. We had a pair outside our front door in Santa Barbara. They built a web across the garden path. So, every day, we would take a stick and carefully slide move the web into the bushes. I wouldn't kill them because I was afraid their friends and family would seek revenge.
By: Mitchell is Moving on September 25, 2015
Bwahahah I am not fond of spiders now, but when I was a kid I used to hunt tarantulas - catch them- inspect them and then put them back. Now I know better!
By: Kathe W. on September 25, 2015
ah, yes. 'tis the season of tree spiders. watch out for web karma. :)
By: TexWisGirl on September 25, 2015
I've lived in my Florida house a little more than five years now. I see cobwebs in the garage, but never a spider. I've never seen a spider nor a cobweb in the house. Can't say I miss them. I'd welcome them if they ate palmetto bugs. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on September 25, 2015
Some spiders just want to be right in the action, where they can catch the most. They aren't banking on catching you!
By: mimi on September 25, 2015
Well you certainly tried to be a good guy. Funny about the one attached to your hat. Spiders use to make me hurt myself getting away but now days I find them facinating. Maybe I'm just too old to run these days.
By: Akansas Patti on September 25, 2015
Kudos for your peaceful nature in dealing with the spiders. I generally try to save a spider and move it outside should it be found inside. Most of them are good. As a precaution I'd urge you to shake the hat off before wearing it. And always make sure shoes stored in the garage are "cleared" before wearing.
By: Tom Cochrun on September 25, 2015
I'm a "prefer relocating" kind of person myself, but if I had to squash a spider, it would NOT be between my palms!!!
By: Pixel Peeper on September 25, 2015
Oh, I've had this experience many times. It does make one feel silly. I've also found them on my glasses.
By: red on September 25, 2015
You are such a kind man. I'm sure that most recent spider you saved is full of a million babies, and just waiting for a chance to drop down on your head and let them loose.
By: Val on September 25, 2015
You've illustrated yourself as a bull... with an earring and without the traditional nose-ring. That would suggest you're cool and no pushover. Running from a spider... doesn't fit the persona.
By: Daniel LaFrance on September 25, 2015
I don't mind spiders. But there's no feeling worse than walking face first into a spider web. So look at it this way -- you were smart to wear a hat to protect yourself!
By: Tom Sightings on September 25, 2015
This is funny because I encountered a couple of spiders as well. Yesterday, I got out of my car and was ready to lock the door when a spider crawled from under the door handle. Needless to say, I jumped and back away as if the thing was 10 feet tall. My sis in law came over and gently moved it away. This morning, after I let my dog back in from having his morning pee, a spider fell off my robe onto the floor. I felt squeamish and watched the spide crawling away so I got my show and killed the little bastard! I find spiders fascinating...on TV but in real life? Nope! And I grew up in the country!
By: Birgit on September 25, 2015
The only time I kill a spider now is if one of the cats has mutilated the poor thing and then is sitting and raptly watching it struggle. Other than that, I either relocate or live and let live. This is a total about-face from 20 years ago when I decided to rid the exterior of our cottage of dozens of an unusual spider which I deemed dangerous. I feel I must make amends for that, having done some research since then and finding that we have no harmful spiders in our province ... except in the occasional bunch of grapes or bananas, in which case I'd smash that sucker flat.
By: jenny_o on September 25, 2015
Hmmm…that's a lot of spider activity. Google what the symbolism is behind the spider. Maybe someone is trying to tell you something…?
By: Marcia @ Menopausal Mother on September 25, 2015
I walk with a spider stick. It's not a cane, but a stick about the circumference of my thumb at the top and it's about 3feet long. When I walk in areas with low-hanging branches, I hold my spider stick in front of me. I can't tell you how many times it's kept me from getting a face full of legged hell.
By: Rick Watson on September 26, 2015
Ha! Now that image made me laugh :)
By: The Bug on September 26, 2015
So hang a spider from a stick attached to your hat and you could set some running records. Funny image
By: cranky on September 26, 2015
Lovely story. I have no qualms about squashing spiders, even at first greeting.
By: Catalyst on September 26, 2015
lol that's hilarious. i like to not kill spiders too unless they are redbacks which can be quite poisonous. i killed one near the front door the other day. they are breeding in my garden. i'm not scared of spiders unless they are quite big and/or black. i don't like the black ones :)
By: Fran on September 26, 2015
LOL. Enjoyed the story, Stephen, and glad you tried your best to give the spider a chance. As Clint Eastwood said, a man has to know his limitations.
By: Mr. Shife on September 26, 2015
I had a good laugh at this story! You seem to have a whole lot of spiders in your town. Perhaps instead of relocating spiders, you should think about re-locating yourself to a new town! lol (Just kidding.) Have a great Sunday! :)
By: Lexa Cain on September 27, 2015
Hilarious. I did not see that coming, but I knew youwould wrap it up in an honest and real way. This is the time of year for tons of spiders.
By: Tabor on September 27, 2015
Funny guy! :) I'm not fond of spiders either but I also prefer not to kill. The thing about the rebuilding of the web outside your door.. it may or may not have been the same spider. I've heard that they tend to look for existing web remnants on which to build so it might be a good idea to wipe down where the web was attached to your door frame after relocation. I have no idea if that's true or not.. I heard about it on the...ummm web. ;) But it couldn't hurt.
By: Hilary on September 27, 2015
I hate spiders and we get some big ones in Florida. I kill first and ask questions later .. Lol
By: Bouncin Barb on September 27, 2015
One of things I remember about backpacking on the Appalachian Trail is that when you were the first one out in the morning, you got to eat a lot of spider webs! Good for you for not killing them right away.
By: Sage on September 27, 2015
IF they stay outside, and don't do any threatening actions (anything that involves moving within feet of me) they are okay. Otherwise, I find out how close to molecular I can make them with any available shoe. Cat
By: Cat on September 27, 2015
Sorry, that has me laughing at you. Laughing rather hard, actually.
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on September 28, 2015
You’re not exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, but you do have excellent close-up vision.
By: Snowbrush on September 29, 2015

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