Friday, August 1, 2008

Shelob or Charlotte?

This silhouette on the window screen caught my eye this morning -- a very large spider sitting on a very large egg sac.
Spiders are something lots of folks react to about like they do to snakes. Take J.R.R. Tolkien's Shelob in the second of The Lord of the Rings trilogy,The Two Towers:

"But still she was there, who was there before Sauron, and before the first stone of Barad-dûr; and she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness."

Harsh words -- and mighty effective. But then there's E.B. White's Charlotte from the beloved Charlotte's Web.

"It's a perfectly beautiful egg sac," said Wilbur, feeling as happy as if he had constructed it himself.
"Yes, it is pretty," replied Charlotte, patting the sac with her two front legs. "Anyway, I can guarantee that it is strong. It's made out of the toughest material I have. It is also waterproof. The eggs are inside and will be warm and dry."

I don't know what this brooding mama is --maybe a Wolf Spider ? She doesn't have a web so I needn't expect messages. I wouldn't try picking her up as many spiders, not just Black Widows and Brown Recluses, have bites that can be painful. But I like looking at her as she regards me with her multiple eyes.
Is she a Shelob or a Charlotte -- or just another of nature's wonders?


Tammy said...

Sadly I am one of those people who have an unreasonable aversion and fear of spiders. I blame my sister, since she has an unreasonable aversion and fear of spiders and frequently let out loud screams when one was spotted in our shared room as childern. :-) Mice, snakes and the like don't bother me at all, but get a spider near me, or heaven forbid ON me, and I get the heebie jeebies big time. I don't randomly kill them though, just because I have a problem. The exception being the many spiders who inhabit my house (its a constant battle in this old house)--zero tolerance there. (Unless it's some type of outside spider that got in by mistake and I'll just sweep them out.. heebie jeebie-ing the whole time! And I find this time of year particularly distressing in the mornings as I walk into numerous webs built overnight.

Vicki Lane said...

When I was little, I would have run from a spider. But at some point I just got fascinated with all of creation and the fear turned to respect.

These sisters! My grandmother was afraid of birds because, she said, her sister used to chase her with a bloody chicken head whenever a chicken was killed for dinner.

Pat in east TN said...

I agree with Tammy ... spiders are not my favorite thing, although over the years I have become much more tolerant of them, BUT those 'big, furry' ones like you pictured, now that gives me the heebie jeebies!!! Eeeeek!!!

Vicki Lane said...

Have to admit I like them better outside. Finding one in the bathroom at night always gives me a start. But I've never been attacked . . .

I have a friend (a woman my age) who once had a pet tarantula. The friend described it with great affection and got a little teary telling of its passing.

Susan M. Bell said...

Any spider I find in the house gets scooped up and taken outside. And I too am fascinated by them to an extent: watching them build webs, taking pictures of them, etc. But, if one gets on me, even a Daddy Longlegs, watch out. I am up and dancing around like crazy to get it off. I think it's the multiple legs thing or something. Looks and feels creepy. (The many horror movies with spider scenes that I watched growing up didn't help either.) And the pet tarantula idea? I've seen them in small "cages" in a pet store, and couldn't even pick up the cage. Those things are really scary.