The natural world is a source of joy and inspiration to me, particularly when it follows the rules and stays outside. As I sit here by my family room window, I am enjoying nature’s sights and sounds: finches and nuthatches at the bird feeders, and one chubby squirrel on the ground, feasting on what they’ve spilled.

Yes, I love all of my local creatures, including our insects and arachnids. You cannot comfortably live in North Carolina if you fear spiders; they come plentiful around here, and big. (I once felt compelled to interrupt a conversation between Dr. T and his colleague as they stood on our front porch, in order to point out the spider that was easing itself out from the eaves; it wasn’t the exact size of a racquetball, but I swear it shared the diameter.)

Spiders are a fact of life around here, and as I’ve said, I am fine with them outside, and even occasionally, provided they mind their manners, here in the house. (Except for that one Black Widow, who I dispatched in this same family room without a second thought.)

This morning as I showered, I spied a little eight-legged interloper in the corner, near the ceiling. It was small, and harmless looking. “Fine,” I thought, “you stay there, and I’ll stay here.” I lathered on, pondering the day ahead. My companion headed upwards. Good.

Suddenly, he dropped a few inches, swaying slightly. That was not in the contract. I flicked a few drops of water his way. He backed off, or rather, up. OK then. I rinsed. Again, he dropped downwards. Flick. Flick. FLICK. He retreated, but not fully. I was done anyway.

All I can say is he better be gone by morning.

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