One of my regular routines here at the ranch has been to check on Charlie the Spider and see what she is up to. Most of the time she is not up to anything (other than waiting for something to fly into her web), but all the same, I have found it oddly reassuring to see her in her spot each day, doing her spider thing.
I say oddly reassuring because, as regular readers of the blog probably know, I have been unnerved by the spiders we’ve found since moving onto the property – especially the ones in the trailer. And there have been a lot of them.
These are just a few of the more memorable spider encounters:
- One spider crawled directly across my stomach while I was on the trailer sofa
- Another spider jumped (or fell?) into the shower enclosure (yes, while I was showering)
- An especially adventurous spider dropped down from the driver’s side visor of my car (yes, while I was driving)
- A potentially thirsty spider was hanging out inside the Brita water filter, in the compartment where you add the water (I am not sure which of us was more surprised when I popped the top open!)
While there’s been no shortage of spider activity in the trailer, lately I have realized that I’m much less bothered when I come across them, and I don’t spend so much time worrying about every spot where they could be hiding. Of course I’d prefer not have spiders in my living space, but I don’t find them alarming the way I used to.
I think this change of attitude has something to do with my relationship with Charlie.
Charlie has been an active part of the Gimpy Dog Ranch ecosystem, she was the first Spider Hero of the Week, and she didn’t seem to mind my taking all those pictures of her. Charlie became the Goodwill Ambassador of Spiders here at the ranch, and as such, she helped me to look at spiders in a more open-minded way, engaging my curiosity and developing my interest in her day to day life.
And so it is with some real sadness that I must report that our time with Charlie has come to an end. Females of Charlie’s species, the orb weavers, will typically lay their eggs in fall and then they die, as is the natural course of things. Even though I knew this would eventually happen, I was still distressed the first day I couldn’t find her, and the days after that, until I had to admit that she wasn’t coming back.
Here’s to Charlie: she was a good spider, and will be missed.