The tangled web


We live in an older house that used to be a summer cabin, but which over the years has been added (and added) on to. Parts of our house are the original cabin which means that “air tight” is not a term you are going to hear any time soon in our midst.

Critters in the wall and bugs all around are a way of life for us.

I’ve rationalized this by saying that at least the presence of insects means that we aren’t being overcome with Radon. It’s just part of living in a house with kids, chickens, a dog and a view that can’t be beat.

A few weeks back, while brushing my teeth, I glanced up and saw a spider weaving a web near the light fixture.

When E.B. White is your Great-Uncle and you’ve been raised on the story of a gracious and kind spider, who gives her life for her friend, your first thought upon seeing a spider isn’t – “I need to get rid of this, now.”

Instead, it’s more along the lines of – “Why hello, little buddy, how’s it going?”

Since then, I’ve been watching my little (big) spider. I’ve seen her nap, repair her web, and I’ve seen how when she caught a fly in her web, she wrapped it in silk and then delicately sucked its guts out.

Recently another younger spider (daughter?) has joined the bigger one and I’ve seen how they work together to build their community web. Lately they’ve moved from under the light fixture to a higher corner of the ceiling where the hunting might prove to be better.

At one time, my daughter’s friend offered to catch the spiders and let them loose outside. She had her shoe ready to scoop them away from the wall.

“No,” I replied. “No. No. NO.”

The spiders stay. I want to know how this story is going to play out. I want to know its ending. I desperately want to know what happens.

I have to know what happens.

After a few weeks of watching these cunning and cooperative arachnids, one morning, I casually mentioned to my son Trevor, “have you seen the spiders in the bathroom?”

“You mean the ones that ate the fly?” Apparently Trevor had been watching the spiders for as long as I had been.

Hmmm, the compulsion to observe and tell a story – do you think it’s nature or nurture?


Wendy Thomas is an award winning journalist, columnist, and blogger who believes that taking challenges in life will always lead to goodness. She is the mother of 6 funny and creative kids and it is her goal to teach them through stories and lessons.

Wendy’s current project involves writing about her family’s experiences with chickens (yes, chickens). (

15 thoughts on “The tangled web

  1. I’ve been trying to overcome my arachnophobia. Some spiders I leave in the house, and others I have shooed outside. Once in a while one jumps at me and gets smashed in a panic. And it makes me feel horrible! My hubby just thinks I’m too sensitive!

  2. I think some people are natural storytellers, but that it can also be learned and developed… now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get that awful spider pic off my screen (hate spiders … *shudder*) :Ob

  3. I believe some are natural-born storytellers, usually those of us drawn to doing so. But everyone can improve at it … I am NOT a natural cook but have learned to make a few things others enjoy through practice. You’ve given me pause to think about the spiders I usually shoo from my home (while squealing much more than necessary).

  4. I think that observing and telling stories is less compulsion and more a deeply engaged way of being in the world. The Tangled Web is a nicely spun story–thank you.

  5. When I was a kid, I used to spend hours walking through the fields and woods around my house singing “and then” songs. They usually went something like this: “There was a bird who liked to fly – and then – he flew really, really high – and then – he dove down and caught a juicy but – and then – he met another bird who liked to fly …”

    You get the idea.
    I think it’s human nature to want to know what happens next. We all have this instinct, but sometimes it gets drowned out by the rush and crush of our daily lives. Though I believe that observing and telling stories is nature, learning to make time to observe and tell is definitely nurture. 🙂

  6. Pingback: The end of the story | Live to Write - Write to Live

  7. Pingback: Lesson 1067 – A little of this, a little of that | Lessons Learned from the Flock

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