I started working as a nanny about a year and a half ago for a family with three children. These three children at the time were all extremely terrified by insects of every kind. Ants, lady bugs, beetles, you name it. Over the last months, my mission has been to decrease all kinds of fear in their lives, not by taking it away but by asking them to understand it. Their reaction to insects has changed so dramatically. They rescue ants off the slide, move worms and roly-polies off of the sidewalk, and take a moment to appreciate the beauty of spiders. I feel so proud of them and a bit of myself because, honestly, spiders give me the creeps. I’ve never been terrified of them like my sister but they do cause involuntary shivers down my spine. I don’t mind them existing, but I would rather not touch or see them. I don’t let the kids know that.
I have spent the last year intentionally exposing myself to spiders, reminding myself of their beauty, talking out loud about the many benefits they bring to the planet. I would still rather that they didn’t touch me, but they don’t evoke the same gut reaction that they used to. A few days ago, an enormous one came gliding out of the elm tree in the kids’ yard. The four of us watched it land on the driveway and carefully relocated it with a stick. There was no panicking, no crying, no running (or walking) away–from any of us. I was as proud of myself as I was of them.
This weekend, I went to an art festival held in some warehouses and along the shores of Lake Erie. There was some nautical themed fencing along the lake shore which was just crawling with great big spiders. I went looking for them, counted twenty or thirty-some. Got this shot. The background is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.