Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Gay Balliet, Author of "There's A Bear In The Basement", Talks Spiders- Part I
I have always loved all animals, from the most innocent kitten to even having a deep admiration for the Great White Shark. And though I’ll never ever see a Tibetan snow leopard in my lifetime, I can appreciate its mystique, its ability to elude capture by the most avid, paparazzi wildlife experts. Ever witness via TV, newspapers, or personal experience to the atrocities man and womankind have perpetrated against others of the Earth’s creatures, those not of homosapien origin, I reserve respect, tolerance, and, yes, love for these animals who prevail despite human annoyance. Though admitting to killing a few mosquitoes and flies in my lifetime, I cannot exterminate a stinkbug, the alien-spaceship-looking insect that commits, with a Br-r-r-r-r-r, Br-r-r-r-r-r, Br-r-r-r-r-r, its kamikaze flight into my wall at night. Indeed, I have held nothing against snakes, beetles, or spiders--until now. I may need therapy: I am in deathly fear of a particular spider—one I have never met or ever care to—a brown recluse spider.
Never in a hundred years would I have ever thought I’d be intimindated by a member of the Arachnid family, having always laughed and mocked girlfriends and guy friends who cringed at sight of an innocuous bug. What fun I had making them feel silly that a human of 150-some pounds could fear an insect weighing a million times less than they did. And to prove my fearlessness, I would pick up the daddy-long-legger in the palm of my hand, as my friend scream-ran into the next room, and place him outside in a safe place so that my cats wouldn’t find him. I was protective of spiders whose ilk was bearing the burden of being a pox on nature.
In the last week, however, I must break out of my web of affection for all things eight-legged. I do now fear for my life a creature I have never seen or been bitten by. It haunts my dreams, interrupts my farm work with possible visions of its clandestine workings in a barn corner, grinds my calm to a screeching halt whenever I walk into a common spider web while walking my woods. This Arachnid, my experience with which has only been through an acquaintance, now holds my bravery towards all things insectile, hostage. Visions of a recluse spider crawling stealthily from under my boxspring at night, its hairy jaws flapping and salivating, honing in on what surely to him must look like a tasty morsel--my rump—interrupt my sleep. I lie awake like Poe’s paranoid narrator in “The Tell-Tale Heart,” listening, fearing the inevitable, ready to tear up the floorboards to finally expose, not my guilt, but a murderously-poisonous monster.
My fear has no real base, I readily admit, but my life has been impacted by a bite to a worker who was scheduled to take down a dead, sixty-foot tree that would surely come down on my house in the next thunderstorm or blizzard. The man dropped his “bucket truck” on my property two weekends ago in anticipation of beginning the tree removal the following Monday. But that Monday Joe never showed, his truck, with a boom and a wood-chipper attached, loomed large and ominous in my front yard.
By Wednesday afternoon I phoned him to see what was the matter. He told me the news in a dead-serious voice: he had been bitten by a brown recluse spider one night while he slept on his pillows.
“A spider?!” I marveled, ready to laugh. “You’re not taking down my tree because a spider bit you!”
Posted by Helping Hands Press at 5:39 AM