Let’s make one thing clear.
I DO NOT LIKE SPIDERS.
As a child I had night terrors, as well as nightmares where I would wake and still be partly dreaming. I would hallucinate-dream spiders crawling all over my bed. Thousands of them. I still vividly remember those images. It’s no wonder I developed a phobia. There have been a few instances where my phobia has embarrassed me horribly, like the time I walked into an orb weaver’s web and threw myself to the ground screaming and rolling around as if I was on fire. Yeah. Not my finest moment, though I can laugh about it now. I’ve never sought help for my phobia, nor do I plan to, but I have tried to ease the anxiety and fear over the years with my own self-directed CBT (cognitive behavior therapy). I can now say, with complete honesty, I have a favorite spider. Here he is:
Spiny-backed Orb Weavers are between 3 and 9 mm across, males being on the smaller side. I’ve been photographing them each September for the last three years. I use a macro lens on my phone, but I still have to get within a few millimeters to capture the perfect shot. It’s an anxiety producing experience. The first year I screamed in our backyard when the wind blew the web toward my phone! But, each year it gets easier, which means my CBT is working.
I look forward to these little spiders every year now. Who knew one day I’d have a favorite spider.