After we released the praying mantis into the garden, I looked to see where it had gone. My digital camera has a cool focus beam that, quite honestly, comes more in handy as a tool to annoy people than an actual helpful focusing tool, but I discovered it also works well as a flashlight when trying to locate a praying mantis in the dark.
Just call me MacGyver.
I hopped around the outside of the plot, trying to catch a glimpse of where the mantis might have gone. At one point, while I stood between the cantaloupe and cucumber plants, I leaned in closer, and closer, and closer, leading with my camera but bending lower and lower toward the garden in hopes of one final sighting.
I had focused my eyes as hard as I could on the ground below me, but something floated into my closer field of vision. Well, maybe floated isn’t quite the apt description. Hung, perhaps?
“H*** s***!” I shrieked.
“What?” Steve asked.
“Look at this!” I shone the red light on the very large, very spun-out spider I had almost knocked into with my camera. “I almost put my face in there.”
I offer up the photo to the right for perspective. Steve is 6’3”.
No matter where you might be reading this, suffice it to say that if I had actually put my face through any web, much less a web of that size, you would have been able to hear me from your hometown. I’ve gotten quite friendly with bugs during my gardening experiences, but spiders? They have eight legs. They are not welcome on my face.
My friend Corina, who lives out in the Maryland countryside portion of the suburbs, got to witness my spider-squeamishness firsthand when I walked through a web out on her porch. The spider displaced in that instance got the death penalty. “I hope that’s OK with you,” she said, just before squishing it with her shoe. “I don’t know what kind it is.”
“I have no problem with that,” I said, still picking web strands off my shirt and arm. I found more as late as the next morning.
“I don’t get it,” she said. “You’re OK with squeezing your own blood into a mosquito, but not with a spider? Haven’t you ever heard of West Nile?”
What can I say? I’m a complicated girl with a very loud scream.