I reached into a black widow's nest today.
It wasn't intentional, of course. I realized my hand was covered in dozens of tiny, pale gold infant spiders about the time the mother waved her many arms at me, making her presence known as she defended her brood. I shook the babies off my hand and went inside, grabbed a bottle of eco-friendly Raid (yes, they make it), and annihilated the lot of them.
Then I felt a pain in my hand and realized that it might be in my best interest to call poison control. I can proudly say now that, most likely, I am more knowledgeable about Black Widow spider bites than anyone I know.
I say it all the time, but there is a truth that is universal, always with us, always asserting and proving itself: Life is, blessedly, full of surprises.
Was I bitten by the big spider? Really, I don't even know. I'd been gardening for an hour or so when I reached into the nest, and there are bites, scrapes, and pricks all over my hand because I like the feel of working without gloves and rarely wear them. There was pain, yes. But whether my symptoms were real or psycho-sematic, I do know I'll be okay. Any severe reaction would have occured by now.
For the most part, I just know that I sat down to plant cosmos and ended up having an adventure I'd not planned for at all. Which is funny, because on my mind all day had been the concept of adventures, how they can happen suddenly, and how they can lead us in directions we never expected.
Reaching into a nest of a venomous spider was not quite what I had in mind to do this afternoon. Still, that's the thing about life, it is full of surprises. The key is to remain ready...and unafraid.
Photo courtesy of National Geographic.