Thursday, October 1, 2009
Black Widow Refuge
My back yard is a refuge for black widow spiders. While exterminators regularly spray my neighbor's yards and homes with pesticides, I've chosen to let "pests" live in our yard, weaving webs, making nests and providing food for the numerous lizards and birds that also visit. (Although I will admit that when the termites start drilling into our walls, I call the exterminators!) Perhaps it was Charlotte who convinced me that spiders deserve to be allowed their quiet livelihood in the yard, or perhaps my ecological sensibilities that respects the necessary role that all creatures play, even in the suburbs. Whenever I see a gleaming black widow with her slender legs and red violin I am fascinated rather than repulsed.
This may seem reckless or foolish to most people, but so far, the spiders have obliged by keeping out of sight during the day, and sinking their tiny teeth only into edible prey, such as crickets that also enjoy refuge here. Once in awhile I'll catch one resting in it's tangled web in a plant on the patio at night, but as soon as it senses my presence, it scurries out of sight, knowing rightly that I am far more dangerous to her than she is to me. Out in the log pile, I reach in with gloved hands to gather wood for a new moon fire, setting aside the marble sized egg sacs full of soon to be spiderlings.
So far, we have not experienced any grotesque infestations of roaches, ant, crickets, spiders or scorpions, the "pests" that support a thriving exterminator industry in Arizona. Yes, all of these creatures are here, and as long as they stay outside in the back yard refuge, we coexist peacefully. I like it that way.