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Posts Tagged ‘wolf spider’

Did you used to devour Highlights magazine at the doctor’s office when you were a kid? Still do? Me, too. One of my favorite things was always finding hidden objects and finding the differences between two pictures. Today, I offer the opportunity to enjoy the second challenge … find what’s different. Here’s the first photo taken earlier today:

And here is the second photo, taken a few years ago:

Okay, take away all the baking stuff. And the poinsettia. And the Poland Spring bottle. What’s different?

I’ll tell you. In the top photo, the toaster is wrapped in a plastic bag, whereas below, it’s au naturel. In the top photo there is a glass jar with a very snug lid holding cat food, and below there is a lovely tin canister with cats on it. Why the change? Ants. Yes, it is ant season — those little black ones which, one at a time, are pretty cute, but when having a party in Jazzy’s dry food bowl? Not so cute. For now, her dry food is upstairs, but when I see them on the toaster? All bets are off.

I am a clean person, especially in the kitchen, but now? I am obsessively clean. I do not like having to keep my toaster in a plastic bag. But I also do not like killing creatures of any size. And even though I sadly say `Sorry’ each time I snuff out one of their little lives, and even though I spray vinegar in certain areas and in certain patterns to make them stay away, have edged the kitchen with white light, they still find a way in. I am now resorting to additional – and more lethal – methods.

Still, it bothers me to kill them. I save every little being I can and take it outside – under a plastic deli container and on a piece of cardboard – out they go. I live in an 1890’s house, and although it was newly plumbed, wired, sheet rocked, etc. it was not given a new floor downstairs. The worn floor boards are an open invitation – literally – for insects to come in. Whenever I might move, I’m sure the new people will be mystified by so many oddly placed pieces of duct tape. There’s a reason for that, people, trust me. Leave them there.

My biggest save was a wolf spider that appeared in my downstairs bathroom – she was huge. I asked her to please not move (yes, I do talk to them), while I got a bigger deli container. She stayed right there while I put it over her and carefully slid the cardboard underneath. I went outside and headed for the river. She was not happy and jumping inside. I don’t know if my telling her it would be OK in a minute helped or not, but I was doing my best. Over the grass, over the old tracks, down an incline and there was a huge pile of leaves and twigs. I figured that would give her a head start. I tilted the cardboard towards the leaves and gently lifted the container. As I’d hoped, she ran forward, and in a millisecond, had camouflaged herself perfectly. I took a deep breath, came home, and went searching for that opening with my roll of duct tape. (Please note, for those of you who are squeamish, that I have spared you a photo of a wolf spider. (For those interested, check here.)

Would I could do that for the ants. I tell them, `if you want to live, stay outside.’ Maybe some listen. But for the rest? Sorry. Really, I am.

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That’s all I could think of to say. And with that, I closed the bathroom door as fast as I could.

Holy Moly! That was the biggest spider I have ever seen in any place I’ve lived! (though not the biggest one I’ve ever seen.)  Including his legs, which were kind of scrunched up, he took up a circular space about 2″ in diameter. What to do?

OK, the usual paper cup I put over other insects to take them outside might not even cover this guy, and I didn’t want to waste any time, because if he got into the bathroom, he could probably find his way out again. Think! Got it. I had a 1/2 pint deli container that would work. I opened the bathroom door and he hadn’t moved. I carefully placed the container over him, which scared him quite a bit, then very gently slid the piece of cardboard underneath. Now he was panicking trying to get out. Just hold on, I kept telling him, as I made my way out the side door.

While I might have released a smaller spider at the far end of the driveway, I really didn’t want to see this guy again anytime soon, so we walked down to the river. Over the tracks, there was a large pile of brush and broken branches of various sizes and plenty of leaf litter. Perfect. I put the container and cardboard down and tipped it so he could get out. He made a few false starts then out he went. Within seconds, he blended into his surroundings and couldn’t even be seen. Whew!

I had only seen a spider that big once before – in the library meeting room where my writers’ group met. (He got released, too.) My research when I got home had identified that one as a wolf spider, and I believe this one is, too. I searched on The Bug Guide, and found some photos with the unusual patterning that this spider had. (Thanks to Charley Eiseman for this photo which shows that patterning perfectly.)

So now the question … why did he appear to me? I am of the belief that when animals appear to us it may be of significance. The best resource I’ve found for understanding the meaning of a particular animal who may be a totem is Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak. He tells us this about spiders appearing in our lives: the spider is associated in mythology and by mystics with 3 primary expressions  – the magic and energy of creation, the assertiveness of that creative force, (particularly keeping the feminine energies of creativity alive), and an association with spiral energy, i.e., the links with the past and future. According to Ted Andrews, some of the questions one might ask when Spider comes into our lives are … Are you moving toward a specific goal or becoming scattered? Are you focusing on others’ accomplishments rather than your own? Are you not weaving your dreams and imaginings into reality? Are you feeling closed in or stuck? Do you need to write? Are you inspired to write or draw and not following through?

This is just a tiny sampling of the wisdom that surrounds the lore and potential magic/inspiration with Spider as a totem. Andrews writes 4 lengthy pages on the spider alone. Having re-read about Spider appearing in my life, as I did when he appeared to my writing group, I am led to believe that it is now time for me to return to my most creative self. And if the size of that spider is any indication … I’d say in a BIG way.

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