I come this morning upon a large, shiny, dark black spider splayed out on the sidewalk. It’s about two inches from front feet to back feet, its body the size of a large pea. It’s not moving.
Zeke waits patiently at the curb, which is where I usually attach his leash to head down the hill. I poke gently at the spider with the undogged leash, flipping it over to see the bright red hourglass on its belly. Zeke is curious now, and comes up to investigate. The spider hasn’t moved a muscle even after my repeated poking, but still I grab his collar and yank him away.
We walk the two blocks to the park, me scanning for an empty and reasonably clean glass jar. I have in mind a photo for the blog, a supine poisonous spider next to a quarter, an animal capable of inflicting great pain gently depicted, blazing red patch in full view. Oh, the visual tension! Ah, the scolding letter various female relatives will send about my incaution! I am jubilant.
The only container I can find is a sandwich-sized ziploc. Twenty minutes later, the spider is in the same position in which I’d left it. It is difficult to scoop the thing into the open bag, and not finding any sticks nearby, I take a calculated risk and flick the spider into the bag with my finger. I seal it up, then Zeke and I walk home.
I shake the spider into a tray on our front porch, fish in my pocket for a quarter, then head inside to get the camera. When I come back the spider is gone. It has climbed out of the tray and down the plant stand, and is seeking refuge among the empty pots.
The darkness and many focusable objects beneath the plant stand test the limits of my camera. The spider keeps moving, trying to climb a strand of web left by one of his colleagues. This is the best photo I can manage.