This I Believe

Nicholas - Harvard, Massachusetts
Entered on October 31, 2008

On Saturday, my father goes to Erikson’s Grain Mill to buy the grain for our sheep, goats and chickens. I unload the bags from the truck and carry them to the grain room. One Saturday afternoon in September, I went into the kitchen after unloading the grain. I was standing by the back door and my father said, “Hey, wait a minute, you’ve got a spider on your back.” “Get it off, get it off,” I said as I moved towards the door. I stepped outside, and my father flicked the spider off my back. It landed on the deck, and I got a good look at it. It was worse than I imagined. Most of the spiders I encounter are little, but this one was big and genuinely scary-looking. Even though the spider looked poisonous, my immediate reaction was not to step on it. I believe in letting things live. I believe I don’t have the right to kill any creature just because it makes me uncomfortable or scared.

Two weeks later, I was in the kitchen looking out the window when I noticed a large spider web between the windowpane and the storm window. The web was not the typical intricately woven basket-weave type, but rather a thick, white funnel shape that looked like well-spun cotton candy. Suddenly, something dark moved through the cotton candy. It was the spider; the same spider that had been on my back, only I think it had grown. Luckily, the window was closed and the spider was not able to get inside the kitchen. I thought about using my cup and cardboard, “catch and release” method of ferrying bugs from inside the house out to their natural environment, but in this case “catch and release” was out of the question. The spider was far too big. Its legs were too long. Its body was too furry.

I felt that a spider of such proportions needed to be identified. From the forty-eight pages of Google image results, I was able to quickly rule out “tarantula” and “black widow”. My spider had distinct dark brown and white stripes on its thorax and abdomen, which matched the description of the Rabidos rabida, the Rabid Wolf Spider. But, the Rapid Wolf Spider is not found in Massachusetts; it’s commonly found in Kentucky. It is not poisonous but its bite can lead to some nasty complications. Then it dawned on me. The spider on my back must have crawled off of one of the grain bags from Erikson’s. They get shipments of grain from all over the US.

Now, in my kitchen window, there lives a Rabidosa Rabida. Even though it’s potentially dangerous, I can’t bring myself to harm it. I have taken a few precautionary measures. I taped the window shut on the inside, and put up three signs warning of the existence of a man-eating spider. Now when I come downstairs in the morning, I head for the window and scan the funnel web and its surrounds, until I see “Wolfie”. As strange as it might sound, I have grown accustomed to his furry face.

My experience with Wolfie illustrates my belief. I believe in letting things live, which is essentially the Golden Rule. I personally would not like to be stomped to death or sprayed in the eyes with Raid and so I am not about to do it to Wolfie. I honestly believe that Wolfie treasures his life just as much as I do. I believe in the sanctity of life and that I do not have the right to determine the course of another being’s life or to terminate it, unless it poses a real threat to my wellbeing. After all that’s not in my job description, but it is in God’s, so I guess I’ll leave it up to Him.

P.S. However, I also believe it is wise to err on the side of caution when making friends with Arachnids in areas like the Congo or the Amazon Basin where several species of spiders have been known to have abdominal measurements larger than those of a beagle.