Leaving my little luxury cedar and spruce cabin was easier than I’d thought. As much as I loved living there, I wanted to get back to the city, but I was afraid of losing the ‘quiet’.
It’s been nearly two months since I left the cabin, and it is just today that I can announce: “I’m all moved in!” The journey to get from there to here had its share of twists and turns, but I kept my eyes on the road ahead, and it seems I’ve reached my destination. Not having much in the way of furniture, aside from a creaky chair to sit on and a wobbly desk to sit at, I do have a lovely space in which to write, and I am grateful.
Over the last year, I’ve moved four times–a bit extreme even for me. I’m more of a one move per year kind of gal. This new place, I’m thinking, might just contain the necessary magic to keep me put. Of course one never knows, but it would have to take something pretty spectacular to get this stone rolling any time soon.
Wildly overgrown rose and raspberry bushes, towering fig trees and asparagus, bushy ferns, papery yellow poppies, bunches of lavender, lilies of all sorts and a mad plethora of other floras that I have yet to identify seem to create a giant cradle for my new home. Passing through the worn wooden picket gate, I follow a path of stones through the motley of bushes, vines and flowers to my door. I love that I can just walk right in. No stairs, floors or elevators. It’s all right there on the ground. I can be indoors, and then just like that, I can be outdoors; and so can the spiders.
This morning there was an extra leg in the bed, just a leg. It was promptly identified to have at one time belonged to a spider, and not the cute daddy long-leg kind either. I found this disturbing. The bite on my arm is also disturbing, and yes the two incidents may be connected.
Since my windows are screenless, and I like to have them open while I sleep, I have no choice but to change my attitude toward spiders–an attitude I’ve been attempting to change for years now. As I write, one spider story in particular comes to mind:
It was a chilly May night in northern Ontario. In my tent, about to spend my first night at tree planting camp, I lighted a candle for some much needed warmth. As I scanned the walls for insects, I noticed the spider. Not wanting to kill her, or leave her, I opened the zipper to show her the way out. While herding her out the door, I heard a flickering behind me. I spun around to see the candle licking my sleeping bag. In silence, so as not to wake the camp, I pounced on the flames, smashing them wildly with my flashlight, and my left hand.
Once my heart stopped trying to escape through my ears, I crawled into my sleeping bag hoping for a good sleep so I’d be ready for the gruelling day that lay ahead. With my face encircled in the crispy half-melted hood of my mummy bag, I smiled thinking not how I almost burned down the camp and surrounding forest, but about how I’d saved the camp and the forest and that little spider.
I know that most spiders are nocturnal predators, so I only open the window a bit more than a crack before I sleep, but that doesn’t stop them. I guess I don’t really mind if they have to crawl over me with their eight little legs on their way to kill something. What I do mind is when they’re still hanging around when I wake up. Take today for example, I got up at 6 AM to find a wolf spider in the kitchen sink. Wolf spiders don’t build webs. Just that fact alone makes me like the wolf spider least of all. Anyway, my eyes went directly to that spider as I entered the kitchen (spidar?). I approached the sink keeping the spider at the very edge of my peripheral vision, and blasted it with water. Out of the corner of my eye, I regarded the grey beast’s futile scrambling with a tinge of guilt. And then, swish, it was swept up by the current and then down into the abyss.
The sink is the perfect spider killing ground. It’s just so easy to turn on the tap and let the water do the dirty work. I don’t want to be a person who kills spiders, it’s just that sometimes the panic overtakes me and I lose control of my sensibilities. I will get a grip though. I am working on it. I shall overcome my fear of the arachnid once and for all, some day, soon.
A much more easily liked creature is the dragonfly, and there are more of those beauties whizzing about my yard than I’ve ever seen in one place. The garden also attracts bumble and honey bees and flocks of chickadees, teeny tiny ones that flit and flutter their morning away among the plants. In the evening, at dusk, a cawing symphony draws my attention to the sky to watch the procession of hundreds of crows as they commute east to retire for the night.
The best part, I no longer have to endure what most city citizens do: that break of day barrage of garbage and recycling and compost collectors clanging their way down back alleys and side streets; I swear there’s a different truck for each and every garbage container. I feel blessed because my garbage gets collected on a street at the far end of the yard, and I don’t hear a thing.
The nights are silent, the mornings are peaceful and I am grateful.