Monday, September 2, 2013

I Saw a Spider

I saw a spider. Seeing one in France is different to Australia, probably because you're not reminded of your imminent death. Seeing a spider in France feels like good luck, especially if you live in Paris, because it reminds you that nature does exist, and that it can be lovely, and not necessarily dangerous. Spiders in Australia can kill you, and because there are a few species that really can, the rest are unfortunately tarnished with the same brush - even Daddy Longlegses - because you never know. That is a shame for Australian spiders and I do feel guilty as I squash them. Mum wasn't afraid of them, even the fuzzy ones, and even though one day she opened the cupboard above the washing machine and a dirty big huntsman ran up her arm and into her sleeve. I look in corners - every corner of every ceiling in Australia, because there is often a big huntsman up there in a corner, and that's cool, as long as you can see him and know he's there. He generally won't move, but it's good to be aware. Especially because once at my cousin's house I rolled over and there was one on the curtain right near my face and I could see the hairs on its legs.

The spider on the wall in the Dordogne was large for a spider in France and it was holding on to a big white egg sac, which made it look bigger. I wasn't sure what to do because it was a bit large to sleep near. I knew it couldn't kill me, but I most certainly didn't want it crawling up my pyjama sleeve. I didn't want to kill it either - it was a mother! I shouldn't kill it anyway - been teaching Kiki not to squash ants. I got a book - Lawrence Durrell. It was a bit thick but it was close. And I tried to get the spider to climb on to it, but the spider just kept moving up the wall. She seemed a bit slow and dumb. Maybe she was exhausted from filling that sac up with eggs. Don't you hate the word sac? I kept nudging her and she still didn't take the hint. She had found her place. She wanted to stay. Shit! I sighed. I tried to sleep but the picture of her landing her sac on my face was too much. I turned the light back on and got Lawrence and more aggressively nudged her, threatening squashing. She took the hint this time, but instead of compliantly climbing on my book she instead moved into a little hole in the stone wall carved out for books and moved right down between a row of paperbacks, eyes peering out at me. I climbed back in to bed. She was technically gone, though still there. I wasn't worried about her crawling on me any more. But then I started to worry about her babies in there and didn't sleep anyway.