As promised, a return to the spider theme, though more quickly than I had hoped. However, after seeing three large spiders in three days, I'm hoping that writing about them in my blog will satisfy their sudden need to be the centre of my attention, and they'll disappear back into their usual oblivion.
I love God's creatures as much as the next person. Honest injun. And for the most part, my friends will tell you that I am a sensible, level-headed girl (I'm a librarian, right?) with a decent sense of humour and a reasonable command of the English language.
NOT when it comes to spiders. Any member of Class Arachnida, Order Araneae (they would make spiders *feminine*, wouldn't they? Typical.) turns me from reasonable human being into Dalek - "EXTERMINAAAAAAAATE! EXTERMINAAAAAAAATE!" Recently though, with the purchase of a spider catcher from Lakeland, I've become more of a Dalek version of Kirstie Allsopp..."RELOCAAAATE! RELOCAAAATE!" It doesn't matter whether it's smaller than my thumbnail or as large as my hand; it has to go. NOW.
My poor ESTJ (see Myers-Briggs) father tried. He really did. Every time he heard, "DAAAAD! SPIIIIIIDER," he'd come in with a bit of loo roll, look at the evil beast in question, and say, very calmly and rationally, "Irim, how big are you? How big is the spider?" His intuitive, less rational INFJ daughter would have none of it.
Why? I think spiders and snakes are two very primal human fears, which makes sense as a reasonable number of them are poisonous. What IS interesting is that most people I know fear one or the other, not both. Snakes bother me not a whit: I have a healthy respect for the poisonous ones, but other than that, I quite like them. Had I been Eve, I'd have put Satan on my shoulder, stroked his head and said, "Apple? Here, why don't you try some and tell me what you think?"
I've often wondered if the fear has something to do with the way they move. Spiders scuttle; snakes slither. Spiders move quickly and in unpredictable directions and stop and start, all of which I find deeply unsettling. Snakes move sinuously, slowly, pause and lift their heads, and then slither off again. Their movement is hypnotic, almost sinister. They move so differently that if one type of movement bothers you, the other isn't likely to. That's not going to hold for everyone, but I think it's part of the issue for me.
Back to current spider sightings - and none of them tiny! I mentioned the one across from my office in an earlier entry - he's gone now; thanks to any friar who might have removed him. Yesterday morning, I wandered into the bathroom for my morning shower. Just as I had taken my glasses off, a sudden, blurry movement on the floor caught my eye. *EVEN WITHOUT MY GLASSES, I KNEW IT WAS A SCUTTLE.* I moved to the centre of the room as it scuttled around the edge, finally wedging itself between the wall and the bookshelf that serves as shampoo/soap/bathroom accessories storage unit. Needless to say, my usual long, languid shower was cut short, I stepped out of the tub with great care and fled to my room. After work, every time I walked into the bathroom, I looked for it, certain it wasn't over yet, that this was going to be an epic battle on the order of Harry Potter vs Aragog or Frodo vs Shelob...
...And my warrior instinct was correct. This morning, as I pulled the shower curtain aside, there it was on the back wall of the tub, eye stalks turned towards me in challenge. Well, I am bigger, so I wrested the shower hose out of its holder, turned it on full force and aimed. It tried to crawl up the bathtub wall, but no dice - my aim and the power shower were too much for it, and it folded its legs and went down the drain in defeat. Another shower cut short, as I waited for it to superhum...erm, superspiderly haul itself up the drainpipe to claim revenge. It didn't, and I made it to my room in safety yet again.
Three (two?) spiders in three days...hmmm. My Jungian soul tells me there's a message here, if I can find it. Dealing with my fear? Can't be asked, too busy with shadow work at the moment. Oooh, perhaps the "Perek Shira", the "Song of Nature" from the Jewish tradition that attaches a Torah verse to each of the 84 elements of nature, each singing its praise to the Creator, with a life lesson to be found in each. Spider, spider...hmmm...hold on...ok, the closest I can get is "prolific creepy crawlies" - and they say, "Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the recesses of your house: your children like olive shoots around your table." (Psalm 128:3) As I'm a woman, that's a bit difficult to interpret. Rabbi Jack, if you're reading this, help would be most welcome! Todah rabah. For now, back to Dalek mode.
I may not be able to interpret what it all means, but I DO know where it started. Martha. After the ordination on Sunday, I had a glass of wine and the pleasure of playing with my friend's gorgeous 2 year old daughter. We found a stone, threw it down the outside drain, saw our reflections in said drain. Fantastic. Then Martha said something that made my blood run cold: "Spider." And not in the appropriate tone of fear, but with a tone of eagerness - she wanted to GO FIND ONE. I looked at her mother in silent accusation, certain that some failure in her parenting had brought about this desire to play with Arachne's children. She looked back at me and said, "She's just at the age where she hasn't learned to be scared of spiders yet." I remained silent and disbelieving, but steeled myself to go help Martha find a spider, if that was what she wanted. Fortunately, two year olds have the attention span of your average parishioner during a homily, so trouble was averted. But that was what kicked it all off, I'm sure of it.
Hopefully the falling leaves will bring about a fall in spider sightings...but meanwhile, Martha, darling, you keep on enjoying them. Someone ought to.