I know this one – cane spider who has been living in our bathroom for weeks. When first I encountered the species, it was twenty years ago on Moloka’i. My husband was so distressed, this gentle man removed one of his slippers (island vernacular for flip-flops) and set about trying to beat it to death, albeit unsuccessfully. Frenzied folks rarely rally to reason, and my words of protest fell like rain leaching into porous ground.

About medium sized like some grander, fleshier dock spider, these shy creatures do not weave webs, nor do they bite humans. Handily enough they do eat cockroaches, mostly I suspect the small tan German ones. I have never actually seen this happen and am only repeating what I’ve heard. Still, it’s solid enough reason to let them live, even to encourage them, if that were possible.

I am not in favor of killing sentient beings, including insects. I’ve even shooed mosquitoes rather than smashing them as they draw blood from my limbs. Yet until you’ve experienced a fat three inch roach, Pariplaneta americana, tentacles flailing as it flies into your long tangle of hair – oily from the poison you just shot at it in a futile attempt to end its miserable existence – you can only dream of its possible adversaries. These creatures are expert scuttlers and defy any form of capture and release, in my experience.

So why am I compelled to seek out a harmless reclusive spider, my potential ally? Why can’t I simply live side by side with it, knowing it will stay out of my way?

I’ve always been fascinated by arachnids – their delicate furry bodies, their complex gossamer webs. As a young woman in the Maine woods, I’d recline on my stomach and gaze into their eyes. I would swear we had a connection. Yet there is something unsettling about lying down at the end of a long day to drift into blessed sleep, knowing the potential for small things with furry legs to creep across my dormant form. I wouldn’t call it fear exactly, though it surely isn’t comforting.

The moment is nigh – bark brown body skittering up Yarmouth blue wall. Deftly I remove my shirt, ball it up – a gentle transport for the timid creature. By the time I am able to secure it in the fabric’s folds however, I have inadvertently injured one or more of its appendages. I regard this apparent fact with a pang of regret – noticing its inert form clustered on the floor. With ease now, I shuttle it out to the deck.

Later I return to witness a static husk, huddled in the same broken position.


Cane Spider

10 thoughts on “REGRET

    1. Yeah … the small cockroaches, no problem. The 3-inchers I’d rather not tangle with. I mean, we’ll even capture centipedes and put them back outdoors – and I know next to nobody who does this (they cut them up with scissors – and even though I’ve been bitten before, I have a soft spot for them). But there’s something about those big fat roaches that I’m ashamed to say really gets to me. I don’t bother them outdoors – they shouldn’t attempt to bother me inside. But we don’t have them now in our remodeled house these past 5 years, so I don’t have to make those kinds of decisions 😉

  1. I go berserk when it comes to creepy crawlers like roaches and centipedes. I’ve learned to tolerate spiders though considering how beneficial they are. For me, the rule of thumb is, “if you’re in this home and you’re not invited, you’re dying.” I know, there’s nothing really catchy about it but I’m no poet.

    I refuse to kill a creature when I’m outside though considering that they have the right to be out in nature enjoying their lives. Until the moment when they try to take my blood or some horrible deed like that. I’m glad the new house I’ve moved into rarely has any bugs inside it, especially after being terrorized by giant ants in the old house.

    Don’t feel regret for the spider. You didn’t cause it’s immobilization (or death, can’t really tell) out of spite. Actually, your actions were done behind good intentions, things just went a little wrong. This reminds me of a book, have you read, “Beloved” by Tony Morrison? I recommend this book to you considering one of the main characters feels the same way you do on a larger scale.


    1. Yes, have read Beloved, thanks for the recommend.

      I don’t feel “bad” as such, but a pang of regret about describes it. I can’t help it – I’m a soft touch. And I agree with you, I don’t hurt creatures in their own habitat 😉

      Thanks for taking the time to comment – you’re sweet to affirm my efforts, such as they were.

  2. I have nominated you for the “Liebster Blog
    ” award. For more information on this, kindly refer to my latest post on the same subject. Congratulations and Best Regards. Michael.

  3. Bela, I had to watch that stupid PBS story last week about the guy that lived a year and a half with wild Turkeys. He spoiled my Thanksgiving dinner! I guess it’s the vegetable plate for me this year. Blah!

    1. Hey, you should have been at our table when we were vegetarians for many years – we made the most amazing Thanksgiving dinners – walnut stuffed kabocha pumpkin, Finnish pulla, fresh cranberry dressing. Then I had some health problems a few years back and a Chinese doctor told me I had to start eating meat. I said, “No way!” But you know six years later, and I don’t eat it but once a week, I am in good health. And I’ve got to say I notice a difference when I go without my weekly meat fix. I still can’t cook red meat – just can’t handle the bloody flesh thing – but I can make chicken about a hundred ways because I can cut up the breast meat when it’s barely thawed. (Mostly Indian dishes – disguised, as it were).

      Too much information, I know 😉 Thanks for your comments!

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