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  • My first instinct was to kill it. I asked my husband to "get it" because I simply don't have the stomach for squashing something that big and I knew he could get the job done.

    Once the hair on my arms and the back of my neck fold themselves back down from my run-in with this beast, I go back to work. Mindlessly picking weeds like a machine.

    All afternoon I find myself preoccupied with that yellow and black spider -- how my husband valiantly tried to extinguish it for me, but only succeeded in knocking it into the lush cherry tomato plants. I have a bad feeling that it is coming back -- with a vengeance. I may never go near that garden again.

    Opening the World Wide Web (the only web that doesn't give me the heebie-jeebies), I type a short description into the search box and find it easily: The Argiope aurantia, commonly known as the Black and Yellow Garden Spider.

    Within a couple clicks of my keyboard, I learn that this hefty spider, by Northern New York standards, is beyond harmless; helpful, in fact. Probably the reason I have so many gorgeous and delicious cherry tomatoes. And I've wished death on her. I am, in fact, an accessory to attempted murder. I am ashamed and guilt-ridden.

    Compulsively, I spend the remainder of my evening devouring all the information I can find on this gentle giant. She won't bite me. She isn't poisonous even if she had the inclination. She is simply trying to find a safe spot to lay her eggs for their long winter slumber. I close my keyboard quietly hoping that she will be there tomorrow, among my tomatoes where I may prove to her, and to myself, that education is a powerful tool in the quest for peace and love.

    Thank you, nature, for your resiliency. Thank you also, for my husband's poor aim.
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