Thursday, February 4, 2010

Swedish Wildlife

There are two reasons I’m typing this note by the kitchen sink. First, the countertop is at the right height for standing and typing. Second, the floor is warm underfoot.

Other fine reasons are that the hot water for tea is here and there is a window looking out over the vecker (beautiful) vinter (winter) underländet (wonderland). (At least that’s how I’d like to write my Swedish. Alas, it’s probably wrong. We were still eating when Phil took his dishes to the sink.

“Warning!” Phil said. “There is a spider in the sink. I thought you should know.”

“Thanks!” I said, “Why didn’t you take it out?”

Silence (a typical response).

I figured it was a Daddy Long-Legs (I don’t know the scientific name) like most of the spiders around here in the winter. Hunter tuned my mind in even closer by asking, “Why do they only have Daddy Long-Legs in Sweden?”

We explained that there were more spiders around here, but that they were generally not harmful.

When I finished eating, I took my dishes to the sink.

“Oh!” I said, surprised to see a Tegenaria atrica female (for you scientific types since I don’t know the common name) holding her ground of about two by two inches. “Why DIDN’T you take the spider out?” I asked Phil a little bit more insistently, as he cleaned up the table and I got the flyswatter.

“It wouldn’t have fit down the sink,” was his reply.

“Hmmm. I think it was something else,” I said, letting the spider climb onto the swatter, opening the back door and flinging him out onto the snow.

The spider ran across the top of the snow as if he were headed somewhere, then stopped.

“Ever seen a spider run along the top of the snow?” I asked, closing the door and watching.

“No!” he said, turning around quickly to look out the window (made you look, made you look!). We watched the spider stand still in the cold morning.

“I figure the birds will like it,” I said, turning away to get ready for work and school. Under my breath I said, “What a wuss.”

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