No! Hang on to that gauntlet! You may want it again, although gardening gloves would probably be safe enough in a pinch. Probably.
Think of this as one of those movie rating blurbs that tells you why the rating was given—bad language, violence, whatever. Once I watched something Star Wars-y with my youngest nephew that was rated PG because of "Scary Scenes." The rating was apt, and I'm afraid it's apt again today. We are facing real life, PG-rated Scary Scenes, although the following preview has been approved for general audiences:
I've been shifting potted plants around a lot lately. It shouldn't be a dangerous thing to do, not if I wait for an hour after eating and remember to lift with my legs and not with my back. And yet, after moving one of the big urns the other day, I found this hanging out underneath its rim:
Oh, good. A black widow. (That's really the only Scary Scene. You can look again now.) Judging from the coloring, she may still be immature, but that's only mildly comforting. I could easily have put my hand on her while I was moving the urn.
The thing is, I know better than that. I may not always wear gloves for actual gardening in actual dirt, but I usually do when messing with the furnishings, for just this reason. The Widows have lulled me this year. They've been keeping themselves to themselves, quiet-like, and I've grown careless about taking precautions.
Generally speaking, I don't mind—or at least, violently object to—black widows. They're useful to have around in a way; their messy, shapeless webs are strong enough to hold grasshoppers and waterbugs. They're unaggressive unless threatened, and they don't seem to want to see me any more than I want to see them. And after all, their bite won't actually kill you. Not usually.
So when they all came out of the woodwork at once this week, I was initially pretty laissez-faire about it. A black widow on the lip of the urn? Maybe that urn doesn't need to be moved again after all. Another one in the keypad box for the garage door opener? Hey, I can just use the remote. Living in the patio table's hollow legs? You know, it's really too hot to enjoy eating outside anyway. In the pineleaf penstemon next to the patio? I don't really need another super-close-up macro of a fallen salvia blossom in the penstemon's leaves.
Ever again. Another black widow in the strawberry pot where the thyme and oregano are growing? Pfff. Herbs, schmerbs. Suddenly I prefer the dried ones in nice, safe, hermetically sealed containers from the store.
Admittedly, the patio has been less a place of peace and sanctuary and more like Mirkwood Forest lately, but that's the price you pay for being
Somewhere I read that morality is essentially about keeping your own needs and the needs of others in balance. This week has certainly tested that balance in the miniature ecosystem of the garden, pushing matters to the tipping point that decides the issue for me or for them. At least now we know what the tipping point is.
It's the Adirondack chair. No one messes with the Adirondack chair.
As for all the other black widows waiting their turn to enjoy my favorite seat, this is one of the rare occasions when I wish someone big and heroic would just come along and take care of things while I look on adoringly. More likely, I will use a spray bottle of insecticidal soap to handle the problem from afar. I'll be wearing gloves.
Gauntlets would be even better.