Spider Dance

Huntsman spider

There are few things that embarrass me as much as doing the spider dance in public. Especially since I can’t keep quiet while performing it.

Becky and I were out working on the woodpile. We were moving the wood from the ugly pile that has transformed our backyard from a beautiful peaceful oasis into a haystack of chopped wood piled higgledy-piggledy with blackberry vines threatening to over-rule everything. For the last two years, I have groaned whenever I have looked out the utility room window. Ugh! Someday those would be gone. Someday was last Saturday, and I am proud to announce that the pile is gone! It is now neatly stacked on racks. I still have piles of kindling to stack neatly on pallets, but that is still a work in progress.

The problem came when we lifted the last pieces of wood under the lilac tree I had forgotten we had. I suppose the spider had picked up and moved hundreds of times as we picked piece after piece off the pile. Each time, he moved on to the next log, the next row, the next stack. Thinking he had plenty of time to hang the pictures, move the sofa, straighten the tablecloth. But no. We kept him moving all day long. Finally, at dusk, he was unearthed with nowhere to go.

A huge spider. I suspect he was harmless, but one never knows. When you can’t ask a critter to roll over and show his belly, or stand still so you can take a picture and wait there while I email the picture to a nearby university extension where they can tell me whether to kill the spider or let it live. In that moment, as I looked into his many eyes, I covered him gently with the nearby tarp and whispered that if he knew what was good for him, he would be gone when I came back.

I thought that was it. But no. When I stepped into the alley, when I was in full view of the entire neighborhood, I suddenly felt like I had a million huge spiders crawling all over me. The inevitable creepiness took over my body, and alas. The dance and the screaming took place.

No one cheered. No one laughed. I suspect everyone knew exactly what had happened. It’s a spider dance and everyone knows the steps.