Critters of the Suburbs

Last week, after we completed our move from Estes Park to the suburbs, I placed one of my geraniums pots on the front door stoop. It looked so cheery there with its bright red blooms and healthy green foliage. I got out the electric hedger—the one I haven’t used since our southern California days—and trimmed a hedge and pruned an overgrown rose bush. Bees buzzed nearby. I brushed a strand of spider web from my forehead.A large red squirrel scrabbled up and down the maple tree nearby.

A large fly somehow got into the house and made a racket until we finally managed to hunt it down with a fly swatter. A cricket got into the family room and chirped until I found his hiding place. I killed a large spider on the wall next to the curtains.

On Friday it snowed, so I rescued the potted geranium and brought it inside to defrost. That afternoon, I decided to prune the same geranium. As always I forgot to wear pruning gloves. It’s just a little plant, I told myself. Soon, the plant was shorn. I just had a couple more branches to remove. Something tickled my hand and when I looked, there was this enormous garden spider creeping across the back of my hand. I let out a shriek like Brunnhilde from a Wagnerian opera. The spider dropped off and disappeared back inside the foliage.

She re-emerged a few minutes later and I got her. But I’m slow to learn. With ungloved hand, I started to clear the clippings. Another large spider—this one looked truly dangerous— ran out onto the kitchen floor. Another Brunnhilde shriek.

Then I had to laugh when the thought occurred to me that we had to move from the Rocky Mountain wilderness to experience the closeness of creepy critters again.

In the mountains, the creepy crawlies die off pretty quickly.

But in the warm, sheltered corners of our suburban houses, bugs thrive. Under the well-watered leaves of our hedges and shrubs, spiders weave and watch.

I thought, isn’t that kind of like our spiritual lives, too? In places of obvious danger, we are vigilant. But in places where we think there is little threat, we relax and fail to guard against poisonous spiders, noisy crickets, and filthy flies.

Looks can be deceiving. The “suburbs” often contain more dangers than the rustic roads of the mountains.

Keep an eye out!

 

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