In years gone by I always looked forward to stepping outside and thinking, ah, the smell of fall is in the air. Here in Arizona fall spells the end on monsoon rains and a decrease in humidity. It's walking season where most flying, biting bugs have disappeared. It's a time when I used to open my windows and doors and let fresh air flow through the screens. I know winter is around the corner, but I can ignore that. I am not a person who likes to be cold. Which is why autumn with temps in the 80s always felt perfect to me.
Autumn springboards the big holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the frantic run-up-to Christmas. I love to decorate and I used to love Halloween. Well, until someone decided to feature big, black, yucky spiders. Halloween used to be jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, scarecrows and black cats with maybe a witch or two thrown in. Tell me who and when some fool elected to showcase spiders and spider webs? No matter how much I love craft stores, when fall begins I have to stay out of stores that think it's cool to hang giant spiders from every crossbeam in sight. Last year Home Depot, of all places, had the biggest spiders I'd ever seen hanging above every aisle. Oh, and another thing, my fall catalogues began a couple of years ago to feature Halloween spiders as their idea of home décor. If I turn a page and see a spider, into the trash that catalogue goes now, when before I maybe would have ordered Christmas presents or holiday cards from that company.
So call me a fraidy-cat, call me a coward. I'm all of that and more when it comes to eight legged arachnids. Always have been and always will be.
For me the greatest drawback to living in Tucson is that summer monsoons bring tarantulas out of their underground nests. A year ago this month in a downpour during which I picked my daughter and grand-daughters up from the airport from a late night flight--we arrived home around midnight--I drove into the garage and we unloaded suitcases. I closed the garage door and we all marched single file to the door that leads from my garage to a courtyard we had to cross to reach my front door. Being first in line I opened the side door out of the garage and there on the threshold sat a salad-plate-sized tarantula. I screeched, slammed the door shut and about plowed over down the others in my speedy retreat. My daughter, being a braver soul than I, took a broom and said she'd go out through the main garage door and in the gate and sweep said spider away. I wanted her to take a big shovel and whack the sucker dead. She's too soft-hearted by far. So, she swept him away down my sidewalk, where the spider promptly crawled beneath my neighbor's gate. I'm still mad at my kid for not dispatching him. I swear from that day forward I never open my front door morning, noon, or night that I don't make sure my courtyard is well lit and that it's free of him or his relatives. So far so good. But people tell me tarantulas generally travel in pairs. (Great) Should I ever encounter another of his ilk on my property it will be catalyst to sell my house and move. Now you may think that's extreme. If so you don't share my phobia. I don't feel the same about snakes, scorpions, centipedes or even Gila monsters. Only spiders, and some spider-loving-fool has ruined my once-favorite time of the year.