I first noticed him a few years ago in September. I was walking up the stairs and passed our landing window.
There he was. I'll be honest with you. He was huge. Giant. He had lots of hair.
I gasped, because really, what else can one be expected to do when confronted with such a startling vision.
I stole one more look before hurrying up the stairs and telling David, "You are going to have to kill that thing!"
Once David got a look at Spike, as we came to call him, he told me that no harm would come to any of Spike's eight furry arachnid legs.
This is not an actual picture of Spike, but this is what he looked like. He was a Garden Orb Weaver Spider and for weeks I hated him.
I'd shudder each time I went past that window. The long hairy legs and beady eyes filled me with revulsion. I considered just killing him, but by now my family had become attached to Spike.
One day as I was headed up the stairs I noticed that Spike was building his web. I was transfixed. It was like watching a ballet of thread. He worked quickly and elegantly and before long his deadly palace of silk was complete.
By now it was late October. I had begun spending quiet hours watching Spike build his web, capture his prey, rebuild his web. It began to get cold. There were fewer bugs being caught in his web. He wasn't rebuilding as often and he seemed to be slowing down.
I tried to bring him some dead bugs from the garden. It didn't really work. The dead bugs wouldn't stick to the web and my efforts just ruined his work.
By November it was obvious that Spike was not doing well. He rarely moved and his web, his beautiful magnificent web, was in tatters.
Then one day I came home to find Spike gone. A nor'easter had blown him away. Even his web had disappeared. It was like he had never been here, had never been my quiet companion.
It was hard getting over Spike. When the next fall rolled around I couldn't help but look for him, but he was gone.
He was gone until this week when I found a new Spike. I noticed him on the back of my house. His web, well, I would describe it as obscene. He's a bit of a showoff. I couldn't help being impressed though when I found him encasing a fly in silk. He's a true craftsman.
I'm trying not to get too attached. I know how this love story ends. The cold comes and each spider leg grows stiff. The dry and brittle leaves become tangled in the once majestic web and then one day he'll be gone, leaving me bereft until the next Spike comes along.