Tag Archives: country life

Confessions of an Arachnophobe

I’m sorry. But they had grown much too big, much too fat, much too meaty. One, I saw, even ate its own brethren—the husk of a spider body, white and tan, blowing in the breeze from a thin strand of web.

The final straw was when I went out the back door in the early evening and felt a cobweb cross my face, then lay across my hair. I screamed. Of course. And jumped. And ran a few silly steps while frantically combing my fingers through my hair, hoping not to feel a cool, doughy wiggling thing under my palm.

You see, by this time of summer, they have grown to the size of small toads. In fact, one time I had a guest point emphatically to a corner of my porch. “That spider’s as big as a TOAD,” he declared.

So it was time. I had a broom and a mission.

As terrifying as they are, I’ve grown much less hysterical than in the heyday of my arachnophobia. Now I study the creatures closely with a cortisol-infused curiosity. I can even tolerate one or two setting up camp about the exterior of the house.

They are, after all, reminiscent of dear Charlotte, the amazing spider who could spell. My residents do not craft words, but, rather, elaborate architecture. And they catch flies. But what I remember most about Charlotte was her egg sack, the one that Templeton the rat had to gently extract from the livestock barn and carry in his mouth to Wilbur’s crate as they prepared to leave the county fair.

What I remember was that Charlotte’s egg sack hatched dozens and dozens of little tiny Charlottes, all destined to grow big, fat, and meaty.

And this is what propels me to act.

Ever so gently, one by one, I invited my houseguests onto a very long broom. Each spider was hesitant, confused, and then frantic. I aerobatically balanced the speedily crawling eight-legged creature on the broom while I trotted briskly across the lawn.

I tried to find spidery places, webby places in which to deposit them where they could find some protection and possibly construct a new web. Under a pine tree. In the brush pile. I have no idea if they can survive such a move. I have no idea if they are like the animals in The Incredible Journey and can find their way back.

All I know is that, temporarily, I no longer have to wallow in one of my biggest fears—that one of these plump arachnids will plop on my unsuspecting head.

That night, it poured … buckets, a waterfall. Tucked up in bed, a crisp white sheet to my chin, rain drumming on the metal roof, I thought of them out there. In the wet and the dark. Web-less. Lost in a strange neighborhood.

What’s the Hurry?

The polar opposite of rush hour in Central VT: I am driving on a back road to my abode, when, lo and behold, I see two elementary-aged children in the middle of the road. I politely wait for the children to move to the side of the road. To the left of me is a cow pasture filled with, you guessed it, cows.

Then I notice that there is an electric fence stretched across the road, and that the two children are squabbling, and that the little boy on his bike is wearing a space helmet. Meanwhile, a woman is attempting to convince the cows in the pasture to cross the road to the equally pleasant pasture on the other side. She is hollering at the kids and yelling at the cows, and no one is paying any attention to her. Except me, where I sit waiting patiently, mildly amused.

The little girl, in a pink ruffled shirt, stands guard before me like a sentry at a military outpost. “None shall pass.” The boy states the obvious: “we are moving the cows.” Except . . . the cows are not moving. The woman begins swearing at the cows and at pretty much everything around her: “WTF!?” she wails.

After about 10 minutes, only two cows have obediently crossed the road. The little girl in front of the electric fence has not budged. The rest of the cows are either milling around in confusion or blissfully grazing. A few interlopers have hustled back to a desirable patch of mud to wallow in. I astutely reach the conclusion that I am getting nowhere fast, so I back 1/4 mile down the road to go around the other way (3-4 mile detour). When I reach the top of the hill sometime later, coming from another direction, they are still there…

‪#‎centralvermont‬ ‪#‎aintnobighurryhour‬!