I used to be scared of spiders. I’d freak out and kill them if I saw them where I lived. The one exception was daddy long legs, which I found fascinating when I would see them in the side yard of the house I grew up in. I knew those weren’t dangerous to me. Same thing with tarantulas, although I wasn’t much exposed to them, I didn’t have the same kind of shrieking reaction to my cousin’s pet tarantula as I did when a tiny spider showed up on a wall or dropped down from the ceiling.
Maybe it was a sense of how this space was supposed to be my space, and in the proper order of things there should be no spiders.
I used to kill spiders, or ask others to kill them, when I encountered them in living spaces and working spaces.
But now, I’m a catch and release kind of gal.
And I think the change has come about because of backpacking.
Because when I go out into the woods and hike around for days, I’m constantly encountering bugs. The worst have got to be mosquitoes. Ticks are unpleasant as well. Horseflies are my mortal enemies – last year when one managed to bite me, I trapped it inside the tent with my, stunned it with a swat of a towel and impaled it as punishment. But spiders out there don’t bother me.
Sometimes I’ll see spider webs across the trail, and I’ll try to avoid them because I don’t like how they feel – especially on my face. But I also don’t want to disturb the spider. At first, maybe out of fear, but now much more out of courtesy.
The spiders live out there. That’s their home. And I’m just a guest. A visitor. So, after many years of backpacking, never once being bothered by spiders, I’m starting to return the favor. I don’t hunt down spiders that I see on the walls inside my apartment. I let them live, just like they’ve let me be when I’m in their homes.