My spider sister died today.
A month or so ago, she moved her web from right outside my door, to along another wall. I put on gloves and moved her store of wrapped insects over for her. Maybe she didn't care, or didn't need them, but I did it just in case. And by the next day, I saw that she was adding fresh additions to what I liked to call her Party Pack.
I stopped to watch her this morning as I left for work. I usually did. Just to see what she was up to. One time I saw her mating. Many times I saw her wrapping her latest food, a carpenter bee, a dragonfly, lots of regular flies and small moths. Once I saw her spinning web.
This morning I said something to her. I don't remember exactly what, just that I respected her, and was so grateful to be watching her for so long. Since she first showed up sometime last spring, I'd always felt wary of her. Part if it was that I didn't want to get too close to her and harsh her groove, or spook her. But this morning I got up close, and once again tried to look inside her. I looked at her, she looked at me. But that empath thing I do with humans and kitties I couldn't do with her. And then I went to work.
When I came home, she was swaying in the breeze, curled into herself, one leg still attached to her web, gone. But I wondered if she was doing some spider hibernation thing, and thought it'd be best to leave her be, check back later.
But later she was missing from her web. I took a flashlight and searched the porch. My landlord saw me and lifted her kitchen window to say she'd taken the body and was going to mail it to her niece in Virginia. I must have looked shocked. She offered to let me have it. I said thank you and brought her into my apartment where the kitties went a little nuts.
She's sitting in a small tin with the lid on tight. Kitty proof. But also for me. I'm a little afraid she will come back to life.
Even as I have watched her all these months, and protected her from the landlords, and the guys who moved my new old couch in, I've been afraid of her. But I loved her too. I don't know why I felt such love and fierce protection for her, but I did.
She was a Golden Orb Spider, nephila clavipes. She was gorgeous . . .