spiders web on gate

For the love of spiders

A favourite sight in an Autumnal morning are the lacey spider webs that adorn anything with two supports. Tree, plant, door frame or in this case a wonderful old gate.

They sparkle at first light catching the eye as I walk by to the car or with the dogs. And I love to stop for a while to watch the owner busily going about repairs or extensions before sitting quietly in the centre waiting for the first strand to vibrate. It reminds me of Shelob sitting in the centre of her lair in The Two Towers.

But still, she was there, who was there before Sauron, and before the first stone of Barad-dûr; and she served none but herself, drinking the blood of Elves and Men, bloated and grown fat with endless brooding on her feasts, weaving webs of shadow; for all living things were her food, and her vomit darkness.“—The Two Towers, “Shelob’s Lair

As it happens I used to be afraid of spiders and would attempt to rid the house of any I found with a hastily turned down glass and a postcard kept handy for the purpose. That fear disappeared in the proverbial puff of smoke about six years ago and today, I’m happy to share my home with spiders, although I still draw the line at picking them up.

This week’s challenge is to produce the start of a piece of creative non-fiction about a fear or dislike you have of something entirely natural, like a spider. It could even be a phobia like claustrophobia or bibliophobia (although I guess if you had that you probably aren’t reading this blog post or involved in my writerly community!)

Please feel free to leave your effort, or even a link to it if it’s on your own website, below. Alternatively, if you are time strapped share the title you might use, a first or last paragraph, or even a stanza from a poem, or some lyrics.

And here’s my effort .. please be kind 🙂

My first encounter with a spider, so the story goes, was as a baby parked in my pram in the back garden ‘getting the sun’. I don’t remember anything of an encounter that saw my hysterical mother attempting to bat a spider off my face without actually causing me bodily damage. Whether I had been bothered by the spider before my mother lost it has never been mentioned but the experience must have caused a deep trauma as I had a deep and abiding fear of spiders and hands waved in my face for several decades, until the moment I didn’t!

(Image by Ulrike Leone from Pixabay)


  1. Interesting piece Linda – will come back with my own effort, or part of it at least. The whole is looking like it will end up on my own site. In the meantime, I’d be interested to know what switched off your phobia.

    OMG – Shelob’s lair! My late partner & I were both fans of LOTR (the books and the films) and he confessed that he didn’t watch that sequence in the film, because it was more entertaining watching what he knew my reaction to it would be. I’m sure he loved me really!

    1. I know what your partner means by watching someone else have a reaction to a thought 🙂 and that is the secret to my shift re spiders! It wasn’t something I aimed to deal with, it wasn’t something I particularly wanted to tackle, in fact, it wasn’t on my mind at all. It was simply a by-product of the type of coaching I do.

  2. I love the photo. We have so many lovely cobwebs here.

    My mum had a spider phobia – couldn’t even look at them on TV. I didn’t inherit it, luckily, as my husband is really not keen on them, so I am the chief rescuer now. I leave the frogs to my children though!


  3. I’m also interested to know what stopped the fear. I have a deal with spiders. They can stay if they don’t try to make friends. Here’s what I came up with.

    Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very, frightening… well, my Mum actually, and so, by way of inheritance, me. Albeit temporarily.
    I remember so vividly, the sight of my dear old Mum, or young mum as she was then, scurrying around unplugging anything electrical and, to this day I don’t know why, opening windows. Windows which we were in structred to stay away from or bad things would happen. This, I thought, was something to be feared, on a level just below spiders.
    We were fortunate enough to be able to afford holidays abroad and one evening, at a hotel in Majorca, we sheltered under a grass canopy from a spectacular Mediterranean thunder storm. There was nowhere to run. No cupboard under the stairs to hide in and all we could do was watch as the most most amazing show of nature crashed and fizzed around us.
    I held my Mum’s hand so she could protect me while secretly feeling like a traitor for enjoying it so much.

    1. What you say about your Mum reminds me of one of my godmothers who did exactly the same thing: unplug everything. Not opening the windows though – that’s just plain weird. I’ve never been afraid of thunderstorms – I remember being very small when Mam told us the noise was just “God moving boxes about upstairs” – I think I was so taken with that image that I didn’t ask about the lightning.

      And likewise I enjoy a good storm. Wind, now that’s different, that scares me – but a good thunderstorm is just thrilling.

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