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  • Elizabeth Barrett-Zahn

Arachnophobia, anyone?

So spring is the time of multitudes of life, mud, mud, mud and the grand feeding and fornicating frenzies. On our early morning walk around the property with the dogs we discovered thousands, maybe millions, of tadpoles fringing the entire pond. Augie and Sophie, who have now decided that they like to tromp around in the water, did so while lapping up water and pollywogs. Must have been an interesting sensation to lap the water and feel squirming blobs in your mouth. I don’t recommend trying it out. We also saw one of our sunning water snakes and a school of various sized fish trolling along the swarms of tadpoles. Surely both have been having their full of the tadpole buffet. I believe these same tadpoles may develop into the toadlets that will soon cover the land making it impossible to step without causing death in footsteps. It was a rainy night last night and we saw no toads doing the nighttime mating stroll around the driveway or blacktop. They may have completed their deed and now have moved on to feeding and staying out of predators mouthes.

Today will hit 80 degrees, so I thought it was time to put up the umbrella over the outdoor table. As I gingerly fed it through the table hole into the base receptacle, I noticed something, a soft tapping noise. Like small pellets were hitting the table cloth. I looked to see, with a natural recoil, spiders. Yup spiders were falling out of the closed up umbrella. Not just a few spiders. Not just one kind of spider either. But lots and lots of spiders. A gentle rain of spiders. Some on silken threads. Some with a plop and dash. And other looking plain pissed off! Daddy-longlegs, jumping spiders, other kinds of critters too. It reminded of some kind of challenge from Raider of the Lost Ark or Survivor because to open the umbrella completely required that I stick my hand inside the closed fabric and then push the circular device that helps to raise the umbrella’s ribs into the open position. Okay, one…two…three… Hey we go! Oh boy how I wished my arms were longer or that my head was not nearly under the opening umbrella as it slid slowly outward and upward. Tap, plop, ping as the spiders and other invertebrates fell onto the table and NOT ME. Table is successfully shaded and I am itchy, scratchy and sure that two or three have made home base in my hair.

Spring is time for pollywog breakfasts, trickling streams, bird songs, spider marches and nighttime frog and toad concerts. The forsythia has already forsythed and the the daffodils have daffed and dilled. Now the grass is growing so quickly that it adds centimeters in a day, the tender leaves from the hardwoods are unfurling all around the canopy and the bees are busily pollinating everything they can pollinate. Ah spring it is a time to enjoy life. Life bursting forth and making itself known. Well, maybe not too known or else it becomes dinner!

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