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Posts Tagged ‘Spiders’

silhouette cropI have a high back window that has played home to a succession of spiders. Jokingly, I have referred to each as Charlotte A. Cavatica, after Wilbur’s friend. Visiting kids always like to climb up and take a look at the arachnid in action—spinning or repairing the web and, yes, sometimes wrapping up struggling prey. It’s a bit like my own personal Nature Channel.

Now it turns out, I actually do have a Charlotte out there, complete with a very large egg sac that she is tending. Like most people, I have a natural fear of these eight-legged beasts, but I loved Charlotte’s Web so much (still do), that I cannot bring myself to kill them. I have somewhat perfected the art of spider catch-and-release.

Also, I was really moved by Life and Death in Shanghai, Nien Cheng’s wrenching memoir of her persecution during China’s Cultural Revolution. Cheng was imprisoned in solitary confinement for seven years, her only friend a spider in the upper corner of her cell. As she watched the spider swing about creating its intricate web, Cheng wrote, “I knew I had just witnessed something extraordinarily beautiful and uplifting … I felt a renewal of hope and confidence.” With the spider there, she felt less fearful of the guards who bullied her daily.

Alas like Charlotte, that spider passed away with the arrival of winter, and it is a truly heartbreaking moment in the book. [Aside, Cheng was a wonderful writer and I highly recommend this read!]

Radiant.

Radiant.

I confess, though, as I look out at the bulging egg sac dangling so close to my window … I am a bit (ok very) freaked. [Click on the pic to really see the eggs.] One day hundreds of spiders will burst out separated only by a pane of glass. I’m terrified of a spider invasion through the cracks of my house. But these two books have left such a mark that I cannot bring myself to sweep it all away.

Instead, I’m hoping that like Charlotte’s brood these mini critters will quickly spin tiny balloons and disperse, sailing off with the wind.

 

Perhaps the runt will be left behind to occupy my window, if so I would name her Aranea.

Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White

Life and Death in Shanghai, by Nien Cheng

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