Eleven and a half years in this state, and I've never seen a real live black widow spider up close and personal. I always wondered if I'd recognize one. How will I know? I know the distinguishing marking - the red hourglass. But that's under her belly - what if she's crawling toward me? I can't imagine I'd be able to get her to roll over for me.
There are so many black spiders. What if I mistakenly identify her as one of the thousands of friendly, harmless garden spiders? There are so many. And they're all so beautiful. Their webs are amazing. I usually leave them alone, unless they're just a little too close to my bed. Then I capture them and bring them outside, where they'll probably have a better life anyway. I've lived with many spiders - high ceilings make them out of reach. I'm not thrilled about the thought of them crawling on me, in the dark. It's a little creepy. But spiders in general are gorgeous creatures of the earth.
I've heard black widows tend to like dark places. I've been warned to wear gloves when going through old cardboard boxes in a shed or garage. I know not to stick my hand in places I can't see. I know to wear shoes in a storage area. But I never expected to see one sitting in the brightest spot, in the corner of the yoga studio's gift emporium.
I was about to turn out the lights when I was overcome by the shining beauty of a spider. Mesmerized, I cautiously leaned in to get a closer look and no question about it - this was an undeniable, clearly marked black widow spider. Belly up, her red hourglass was unmistakable. Her strong, long, shiny black legs were enough for a human to envy! My hand nearly grazed her web. So thick and sturdy - like fishing wire. Powerful medicine, this creature was.
But what was I to do? Capture her? Set her free - in the city? She, and certainly I, were much safer with her nestled in her web overnight. Upon calling one of the owner's of the studio, it was agreed to leave her. All other options made me shiver.
When it comes to identifying a black widow spider, you won't find her true beauty in a picture or in a book or on TV. It's like love, you'll just know.