Facing my Fears – Starting small

I am tired of my  gigantic fear of certain small creatures. I fail to understand why, at the age of 58, I continue to cringe, jerk back, jump up, or respond in an aggressive and sometimes violent way, to particular little creatures. So I’m undertaking a campaign to conquer my fear of spiders.

They say we fear the unknown. I am going to attempt to learn my way out of my fear.

First sighting - Monday, August 24
First sighting – Monday, August 24

As good luck would have it, nature presented me with the perfect opportunity to observe that which I fear. We found this creation installed on one of our deck’s shepherd’s hooks upon our return Monday from a short trip to St. Louis.

Somebody was busy while we were gone. The web is one of the reasons I do not have an affinity for spiders. Can you imagine accidentally wandering into one of these, face first, or even getting your hand in it? Not a pleasant experience.

Perhaps a change of perspective will help.

Spider and web
Spider and web

This is an absolutely amazing structure. I’m not sure you can tell from the photo, but it’s not flat, or located in one plane (to use a term from my geometry class too many years ago to remember). It reminds me of the structures they build to provide shade above an outdoor performance stage where a fabric is stretched taut between various anchors creating a three-D effect. I don’t know how this little spider managed it all my him- or herself and undoubtedly without a compass, or protractor, let alone a computer, to boot. There’s some pretty cool geometry going on here.

And just in case you missed it. The spider is all curled up, looking something like a benign blob of mud, on the top of the shepherd’s hook, making me realize that without the legs a spider doesn’t look all that ugly, or menacing at all.

Maybe if the granddaddy long-leg that was plastered on the brick wall, right beside the handle to the sliding screen door, had had his or her legs curled up tight, I would have had less of a start when I spotted it. Maybe then I wouldn’t have had to contort my hand as I was opening the door to keep the maximum space between my fingers and the giant, I mean little, invader.

Web maker

Just to be certain it wasn’t a blob of mud, I got a closer shot. See, that spider doesn’t look so frightening after all, does it?

Spider’s new hiding place

On Tuesday, I noticed the spider had found a new hiding place, which I have to agree, was probably a smart move. His or here previous position made him or her pretty much a sitting duck for the all the birds we have around here. (I’m switching to the feminine pronoun because I’m tired of the whole he or she thing. And I suspect if we did a scientific study of it, we would find out that the male pronoun has been much more overused through the years. Just saying.)

I thought it was also interesting that she seemed to build a lot of web around where she sat. I don’t know whether she was hoping for easy snacks within arm’s reach, or was somehow trying to hide or disguise herself.

Spider and cicada
Spider hits jackpot

I noticed something relatively large hanging from the web Tuesday afternoon. I got my camera and shot a picture from the safety of my kitchen window. Jackpot! When I cropped in to magnify the picture I could clearly see that the spider was in for a feast with this cicada.

She does look just a little bit evil in this pose, don’t you think? But I guess the red fox running across the yard with a squirrel in its mouth didn’t exactly look like Little Bo Peep. And I still like the red foxes. Do I detect a double standard?

spider and cicada
Spider and cicada

I cropped in for a closer shot, just so you could see what is going on and learn about this fascinating, and friendly, little creature.

The web was pretty well trashed by the end of this event. It was hanging freely and kind of swaying in the wind.

Spider web
New web

But no worries. I woke up this morning and found this brand new shiny web constructed. I don’t know how the spider got rid of the cicada refuse, or inedible parts. They’re probably lying in Mark’s garden directly below the web. I also don’t know how she got rid of the old ratty web. Did she disconnect it from the anchors and let it drop to the ground? Did she systematically roll it up and reuse it like stitches torn from a knitting mistake and rolled back into the ball or yarn? It’s a mystery to me.

spider web
New web

But this web is looking good, ready to go. Although upon closer examination, I see it may have met with a few casualties already.

Our little friend, hides and waits above. Sneaky little creature, isn’t she? But industrious and creative.

What do you think? Can it be done? Will I be able to overcome my arachnophobia? Or is my irrational fear of spiders deep-rooted in my DNA, or evidence of, or artifacts from, a past life?

Stay tuned.

She waits

19 thoughts on “Facing my Fears – Starting small”

  1. That’s the wonderful thing about spiders their ability to create a new home over night.. Spiders hold fear for many of us.. Me too I had to overcome my fear.. It was born from my own Mother’s fear of them..
    Over the years working as I do among the veggies in the Allotment I come across many spiders all shapes and sizes.. Some a huge like wolf spiders while others tiny like money spiders often hang from my hair as I bend down among bushes to weed.. 🙂

    Spiders appearing are good totems. and a good sign.. And Well done at these wonderful captures.. You are making great strides in over coming the fear of them as you learn more about their lives and how they help in nature.. 🙂

    Enjoy your weekend Christine.. Hugs Sue x

      1. Starting small as you say, you will gain confidence.. Now I am able to remove them from my home.. I catch in upturned glass with card.. Some spiders have only just fitted their legs into the rim of a pint beer glass :-).. I put them outside and ask them not to come in again 😀

  2. Nope, still not fond of spiders. They do not respect my personal space. For example: crawling on me or landing on me when I’m just sitting there minding my own business. Here’s where I land. They can have the outside, but wander inside and they are dead meat.

    1. Yeh. I hear you. I’m thinking about trying to capture them when they come inside and return them to their natural habitat. Not sure I will be able to invent a device to make that happen. Luckily I have an onsite exterminator.

    1. I don’t know how far I’m going to get with the spiders. A couple of days ago I found a rather large one in our laundryroom. I had to call the spider-buster (Mark) to come and exterminate it.

  3. Thanks for posting this. I also am scared of spiders and I just had a run in with a particularly large specimen that looks a lot like yours, which is a female spotted orbweaver, I am told. It was in my shed right above the door and I felt my heart stop beating, I swear. She looks massive to me! I have found learning about them has helped quite a bit, I still don’t want to touch them, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve developed a lot more respect for them. They also have some interesting connotations in native lore, which made me look at them in a whole new way, so that might be something that would interest you. Needless to say I closed the door to the shed and informed Miss Orbweaver that it’s all hers.

    1. I think this spider was n orbweaver too. They do look irrationally gigantic when you’re surprised by one, don’t they? That’s just it, I’m not really afraid they might bite me, I’m afraid they’re going to get on me.

      Good choice with Miss Orbweaver. You can live without the shed for a while, right?

  4. You made a beautiful and interesting story about this little spider and her web. It shows the value of looking closely at the small things in our environment. I especially like your first photo of the new web with its coppery sheen.

    1. It was a truly amazing web. I have a lot of respect for what spiders are able to do. I just don’t want them to do it anywhere near me. Thanks for the kind words.

  5. Beautiful photos – and I bet you that they help you overcome your fear of spiders. I don’t particularly like those little critters either, but I feel that their webs teach us so much about life – and you portrayed that lesson here.

  6. She looks very much like the spider that covered one of the kitchen windows with web. At least I didn’t need to worry about walking into that one. It wraps itself into a neat little package. We also have a large black and yellow that weaves a zipper-looking area into the web that the she hides behind.


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