Memo to spiders: Let?s try to get along

Have you ever looked at your calendar and gone into instant denial? No, it can?t be today, it was only June yesterday. Maybe I should run out and accost someone and demand to know what year it is.

This summer sure has gone cruising by. What with swimming, county fair and school shopping, fall seems to be sneaking up on me.

Something has been on my mind lately. More accurately, on my face. You guessed it, spider webs. I learned my lesson long ago to always carry a stick long enough to wave around in front of my face, and truly, that?s saved me some literal run-ins with the local arachnids.

Apparently though, I seem to have angered them enough that they?ve started spinning in stealth mode. I?m convinced they?re watching for the few times I don?t happen to be carrying my stick, and immediately cast bungee-cord strong filaments just to get a laugh. So, without further ado, I?d like to publish an open letter to the little buggers in hopes of restoring equilibrium (more about that soon).

Dear spiders:

Let me begin by complimenting you on your truly awe-inspiring webs. Not only do you do us all a tremendous service by catching many of the pesky flying insects that buzz about on the farm, but your webs are beautiful marvels of symmetry and a testament to your dedication.

Seen in the correct light, perhaps with embellishments of dew, your webs are a poignant reminder of the mysterious dichotomy of strength and frailty. By the way, the correct light is daylight. I know my LED flashlight is bright, but it doesn?t count. I?m not nearly as appreciative of your masterpiece after dark.

I am also capable and most entirely willing to view your silkwork from a distance. Having it wrapped around my head most assuredly does not enhance my perception of your art. And, since the other creatures in earshot either cannot speak English or should not be learning inventive phraseology, the potential vocabulary enhancement cannot be seen as a benefit in this case.

As a fiber artist myself, I recognize that we do have some of the same talents. I have even been known to use cobweb lace. I assure you I can observe professional courtesy. You use yours, I?ll use mine.

Here?s a helpful hint: the things I make don?t stick to people. You might try that sometime. It would come in handy, especially if you are trying to get me to promote your work to a yarn company. Predyed silk in exclusive colorways would also be a plus.

The placement of your snares is also at issue. It seems that you have calculated the exact height above ground level that my face is likely to occupy when I walk.

As stated above, the thought is not appreciated. Even the single strand that you flung across the walkway this afternoon that looped itself into my eyelashes and stretched for three whole strides was not impressive in the intended manner. Perhaps your elastic string could be better promoted at, say, a military base which finds itself in need of spare bungee cords.

I do realize that artists like to be present at a showing of their works to gauge the approval of their audiences or clientele. Still, I feel it rather insensitive of the artist when, after flailing through deep weeds in search of a lost chicken after dark, the rather large artist chose to swing from his exhibit?granted, I did take that one out with my face as well?and strike me in the ear.

As a result of repeatedly beating myself about the cranium, I seem to have lost my balance and stumbled into yet another artist?s gallery showing. The damage to my psyche is most likely permanent, and my lawyers will be in touch.

I also find myself rather perturbed by exactly how many of you there are, and how many seem to have a staring problem.

Granted, I know you have extra eyes, but is it really necessary to blanket the ground? Is there a spider-per-square-inch quota that I don?t know about? And honestly, I?m just going to shut the coop. Nothing to see here, go on about your business.

In summation, your insect control efforts are greatly appreciated. But, in light of the fact that you have an entire farm on which to display your works of art yet consistently choose to do so in trafficways, I am forced to conclude that you have distinct narcissistic tendencies, as well as a sadistic sense of humor.

I advise you to alter your web placement in the future to avoid destruction, and so that we may all live in peace and harmony. And as always, I will continue to speak to you softly?and carry a big stick!

Shana Thornhill and her family live on a farm near Marion. She can be contacted at shotah@yahoolcom.