The trouble with spiders | Editor’s notebook

I’ve woken up with them in the palm of my hand. They’ve clung to the inside of my sweater, crawling up through the neck. I’ve wrapped myself in a towel, only to look in the foggy mirror and see a huge black shape making its way across the cloth.

Spiders seem to find their way to me constantly. I scream, I tremble, I fling my hands at invisible webs that I just know I walked into. When asked by a friend which I would rather crawl into bed with – a spider or a rat – I quickly answered “rat!” much to everyone else’s confusion.

In the first place I lived in as an adult – a refurbished basement – enormous house spiders took up residence in the unused fireplace, which just happened to be next to my bed. Every night, I would scan the quilt and sheets, ferreting out any unwanted guests. I would then get in, lean up against the backboard and watch the fireplace for the arachnids to emerge. It really only happened a few times, but the threat was ever present.

With the arrival of fall, the colorful garden spiders are weaving their webs right outside our windows. They are lovely until I walk out my front door and into one of their homes. It’s also time for the long-legged house spiders to scurry across my bathroom floor, scuttling into the closet, never to be seen again. Every year, I know this time is coming. I try to make peace. They are, after all, only trying to survive. We all just want to be happy.

I also try to remember how important they are in the bigger scheme of things (namely eating bugs) and that we don’t have many poisonous varieties in the Northwest. The majority of species across the globe aren’t a real threat to our existence anyway.

For those of you who enjoy watching spiders, more power to you. Feed them small insects, video their web spinning – do whatever it is you do. For me, I will continue to scream and get goose bumps whenever a spider gets too close. But I will do everything I can not to kill them; everyone knows that is bad luck.