There seemed to be no one around when we went to inspect the site for the upcoming art show. The newly built clubhouse featured an outdoor plaza where the artists will set up with a pool and fountain. It was a beautiful setting in the desert and we were happy to see several large walking stick bugs taking full advantage of the pool area. Next the wall, though, there was a plastic bucket and I glanced in it. At first it looked as if there was a frog nestled into the side hugging the only shade spot. When the shape of the object registered in my mind, it was the first tarantula I had ever seen. I called to Mike to come look and he shook the bucket until all eight furry legs unfolded and the big bug regarded us with an impenetrable look. I was so excited to see my first one that I didn’t think about its circumstances at first. I registered its size, about as big as my outspread hand and looked at its furry body that almost looked cuddly, for a bug that is. I asked Mike if he thought we should free it and he demurred on the basis that it looked like someone was feeding it bugs and perhaps it belonged to someone. I believed that and we left.
In the middle of the night I woke up and realized that I should have freed the tarantula anyway. I worried about it. Eventually I went back to sleep. Yesterday we were too busy to worry about a bug, but it still popped into my mind once in a while. Well, if bugs could have ESP, that one was sending me a direct message. Today I hopped on my bike and road the few miles back to the site. There was a local kid who only spoke Spanish cleaning the pool. In my limited Spanish I said hello and then asked about the tarantula. “Si”, it was still there. We walked over the bucket and there it was two days later in the same position. I suggested in my incorrect Espanola that perhaps the thing wanted its freedom. With some words I didn’t catch the young man cheerfully picked up the bucket and started walking towards the sand. From some of the words I could understand he wanted to free it and thought it was best if we took it out to the desert sand. I followed closely with my camera. He tipped up the bucket and out fell a disoriented eight-legged furry brown spider. One leg at a time the tarantula took stock of its condition as we watched and then headed in a purposeful slow walk towards the thickest bushes nearby.
I got a picture and rode home feeling good that I made it back there before the spider died. I got the distinct impression that the pool worker was also worried about the tarantula and just needed a little push before he made an executive decision and put the animal back in the desert. He had a big smile as we said goodbye. Perhaps the bug with ESP was working in two languages.
Causes Linda Hunter Supports