ANYTHING BUT SPIDERS

I’m afraid of spiders. Not because they are dangerous, though some are. Not because they are poisonous. I’m afraid of spiders because they make my skin crawl. They scare me half to death and it doesn’t have to be a particularly malevolent member of the species. Under the right circumstance — like when I’m sleeping and wake up to find a spider on me — I can actually levitate from fear. Rise right up off the mattress, screaming. Wake everyone in the house.

A friend of mine was attacked by a wolf spider while sun bathing on her patio in Arizona. The thing was the size of a small dinner plate (dessert plate?) and landed on her breast, then proceeded to take a chunk out of her. The pain was one thing. The fear was so intense she promptly sold her house and moved to a place where there are no wolf spiders. I’m with her.

Giant forest scorpian (heterometrus laoticus)
Giant forest scorpion (heterometrus laoticus)

I lived in Israel and did not deal well with scorpions. I am not physically brave. I will take emotional and professional risks, no problem. One garden spider will unglue me.

Do I remember the last time this happened? No. There have been so many times. The best thing about a mindless phobia? You only have to imagine there’s a spider nearby to get your heart pounding, your blood rushing in your ears. It could turn be a bit of dust or dog hair brushing your leg. Or an ant.

It’s the thought that counts.


Fight or Flight – Write about your strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness: what caused the adrenaline? Was it justified? How did you respond?

A WORLD FULL OF FRIENDS

Daily Prompt: Cut Off – When was the last time you felt really, truly lonely?


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Until this morning when I saw this prompt, I was feeling pretty good about the friends and relationships I’ve formed during the past three years of blogging. Now why would you go and ask this question? The people who write these prompts must be very young. They are forever bringing up depressing topics that are real downers. Only the young think it’s fun to explore bad times.

But here’s a real, no kidding, response. Because Garry and I were talking about this very thing last night before bed.


Years ago, when I moved to Israel, I was suddenly a single mother in a new country with no friends, or acquaintances. Most people spoke English only a little and the customs were different. Emigrating to another country and culture is hard, but that’s what I signed up for. I wanted culture shock. I wanted something different, new. I wanted to tough it out and discover I could do it on my own. I was just 30 and I was ready to take on the world.

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It has been a long time since I felt that way. Nothing I could do in my native land and language, could match or exceed the isolation of being on my own on foreign soil.

Of course I felt lonely and isolated. I really was isolated. It wasn’t a mood I was in, or a feeling. It was reality, even though it was in a place I had chosen. With all its perils, change is healthy.

I am not lonely anymore. Being physically challenged, if this were even 25 years ago, I probably would be. The Internet lets me reach out and find friends all over the world. You — yes, you with your pot of tea and crumpets — have rocked my world. You are my friends, my support. How can I be lonely with wonderful friends like you?

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Across continents and oceans, from every corner and culture around the globe, you are my friends. I have a whole world full of friends. What a wonder this blogging thing has turned out to be!

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

Ice and snow still covers our land. It snowed several inches overnight. But it’s warmer today. Above freezing for the first time in weeks. I believe this is the first day of the great melting. Everything is dripping.

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I opened my window. I was able to pull off the sheath of ice which has clung to the window frame for weeks. I looked below and saw that birds had gathered.

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This land is home for many creatures, humans being the only primate. Some years, a bobcat lived here. Those years, we had few small animals. Our local bobcats are about the size of a large house cat, but powerful for their size, with a voracious appetite for squirrels, chipmunks, and rabbits.

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We have birds. Buntings, woodpeckers, chickadee, robins, cardinals, jays, crows, hawks, American eagles. Big red-winged hawks who like to chow down in our driveway. It isn’t a charming sight. I’m always grateful when the big birds leave and take their leftovers with them.

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Coyotes are always nearby, as are fishers, raccoon, and skunk. Opossum, snakes, chipmunk. Our greatly reduced squirrel and rabbit population hasn’t quite rebounded from several years of depredations by bobcats. The cats have moved on to other hunting grounds. I hope our squirrels and bunnies will be back.

I hear owls, though have never see them. There are deer in the woods. Garry sees them from time to time. I’ve caught glimpses, but never a clear view.

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This morning, the birds were camped out in the frosty forsythia hedge. It must provide something they can eat. While I watched, a dark furry shape slunk by. Fisher? Fishers have returned to the valley after having been hunted to near extinction. Now, they vie with human for space to hang out in the sun … and being rather bad-tempered and sharp-clawed, usually take the field. One of them takes over our back yard on warm summer days. He likes napping in the sunny areas and does not (apparently) want human company.

The birds are not afraid of the fisher. Their perches on the forsythia put them above the fisher. He cannot get them. He knows it. They know it. He moved on, hoping for an unwary chipmunk or a juicy rat. Pickings have been lean for prey and predator on this  land, this winter.

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I like our land as it is. We use a bit for the house, a bit more for two small yards, front and back, and a driveway. The rest of our acreage belongs to the wild things.


A Plot of Earth – You’re given a plot of land and have the financial resources to do what you please. What’s the plan?

SCALE – THE BIG AND THE LITTLE

Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale — This week, share an image that highlights a size relationship — make us pause and take a second look to understand the scale of the elements in your photo.


 The cars and the mountains. How small is man compared to those mountains!

Superstition Mtns Arizona

 The osprey returns to the nest as the sun sinks behind the hills.

osprey hawk returning to nest sunset

EEK, ICK, YUK

Wolf Spider (Virginia, USA)
Wolf Spider (Photo: Wikipedia)

I’m afraid of spiders. Not because they are dangerous, though some are. Not because of the potential toxicity. I’m afraid of spiders because they are creepy, make my skin crawl, and make me scream like a little girl.

EEK, I shriek and jump straight out of my chair with my heart pounding like a trip hammer. The loudness of my EEK and the hysterical pounding in my chest is in direct proportion to the blackness and largeness of the spider. Bigger is scarier. Big, black and hairy might actually kill me from sheer panic and irrational terror.

A friend of mine was attacked by a wolf spider while sun bathing on her patio in Arizona. The thing was the size of a dessert plate. It landed on her breast and proceeded to take a chunk out of her. The pain was minor compared to the fear. Her terror was so intense she sold her house and moved to a place where there are no wolf spiders.

I’m with her.

But today, I am a warrior. I am a woman of power and pride.

I went into my bedroom to change my clothing this afternoon. There, in the middle of my white blanketed bed was a medium-sized black garden spider. Did I scream in panic? Did I even go EEK?

I rallied my womanly strength, balled up my clean pink tee-shirt I had just taken from my cupboard and squished it. Kept at it until it was nothing but a black smear of used-to-be-a-spider. Then, I put the tee-shirt on.

I went and told my husband. He gave me a proud thumb’s up.

I wear dead spider proudly. I am woman. Hear me roar.

BIRDS IN THE BUSH

Sunday morning, I woke to a blanket of snow across the landscape. Maybe 5 inches. Not a mega storm, but enough to cover the branches of the trees, the lawn, and the forest floor.

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I went out to take some pictures. Maybe it was the time of day … it was just a little past eight in the morning. There were dozens of little birds heading for the big forsythia bush. The birds love that bush. They love it in summer and spring and fall as well as in the winter. I don’t know if there is something there which they eat, or they just feel safe in its twisted branches.

We used to try to control it, but in recent years, it has quite gotten away from us, completely hiding the chain link fence that is the demarcation between our yard and the woods.

I was able to get some pictures of the little birds, something that usually eludes me. I don’t know what they are. Some kind of wren or finch. There are so many and they look very much alike. Our garden birds, sharing our world.

IT’S NATIONAL SQUIRREL DAY! MEET PROJECT SQUIRREL!

Become a Citizen Scientist. Click the link to read about Project Squirrel and to tell us about squirrels near you. Project Squirrel has been operating since 1997. During this time, over 1000 people have offered their knowledge, provided observations, and filled out the forms. We have been able to learn a great deal about these squirrels, particularly in the Chicago Metropolitan Region. Observations from other parts of the country have also been welcome and interesting.

Source: www.projectsquirrel.org

In honor of National Squirrel Day …. What, you didn’t know? Well, today is National Squirrel Day. Project Squirrel gives you the opportunity to participate in … well … watching squirrels. Taking pictures of squirrels. And sharing your squirrel stuff with other squirrelly people.

Happy National Squirrel Day!

See on Scoop.itForty Two: Life and Other Important Things