Sunday, 28 October 2012

Alert Awareness

This philodendron blossom stays open for one day. I have to keep alert or I miss it. Whenever I take things for granted, awareness goes downhill.

It got hot yesterday, 34.8 C (94.6 F), building up to a brief shower after dark which cooled everything back down to an enjoyable temperature. By bedtime I was wearing a flannel shirt over my tank top when we walked to the bedroom. It felt even cooler when I got up at 5 a.m. The sky was just getting light. As I walked past the shower on my way to the kitchen, I grabbed warmer clothes that I had left hanging on pegs. I began musing about the fact that I no longer worry about creepy-crawlies getting into clothes left hanging in the shower room. It's just never happened.

During our first years in Far North Queensland, we slept in a beautiful Moss tent, safe from insects and other creepy-crawlies. Tents work a treat that way... as long as you remember to zip the zipper all the way to the end. But, eventually tents develop holes.

When we finally got our own property, it had a bedroom. We began sleeping under a mossie net there. Over the years we coped with occasional creepy-crawlies in the bedroom: centipedes, snakes and huntsman spiders. Each time we successfully wrangled them back outside... sometimes with a hint of panic flavouring the air. Using a soft push-broom, Jerry has become a Master Wrangler when it comes to evicting huntsmen spiders. Neither of us has the courage to let one climb onto a bare arm for transport outside, as one of our previous housemates could do.

Clutching my warm clothes to my chest this morning, I reached the kitchen where the stone walls still retained some of yesterday's heat. I threw my warm clothes onto a chair and stripped off my tank top. In no time I had slipped on the warm t-shirt. Chuckling at myself and feeling slightly ridiculous, I started at the bottom of my shirt and lightly patted up my torso to prove nothing was lurking inside my shirt. But... something WAS there. Something with stiff bits... near my shoulder... not far from my neck....

Time truly stretches in such moments. I had time to think: no, no, no, get the shirt off, get the shirt off, it's surely only a cockroach, ewww, nononono. I whipped the shirt off in a flash and flung it, now inside-out, onto the floor. Nothing moved. I turned on a brighter light. Nothing to be seen. I gingerly straightened the shirt. Nothing. I lifted the shoulder and a huntsman ran out. I squeeked.  He disappeared under a nearby workbench. Huntsmen get as big as my hand. He wasn't that big. He was only as big as my palm.

I'm using a new way of storing my clothes in the shower room.
After calming down, I reflected on how non-aggressive the huntsman had been. Most are timid biters. The bites aren't considered dangerous. They are scary because they are big. They are most dangerous to drivers who panic when the huge huntsman crawls into sight inside a moving vehicle. I'm sure the huntsman felt as threatened as I did. Today's experience made real for me the knowledge of huntman strategies for survival:
1. Freeze
2. Flee.
3. Bite if all else fails.

Not a bad set of strategies for anyone facing Life's surprises and uncertainties.

Post by M in JaM
Photos by JaM

1 comment:

Diana Troldahl said...

My worst was banana slugs of all sizes (short of the HUGE ones) nesting on a shirt I left on the floor of the bathing room when I lived in Japan. My house was near a river. I still get very freaked out by slugs, of all things. Talk about a harmless critter, still, my knee jerk reaction is to scream and freeze and it takes a while to get over it! Even the comparatively tiny ones here in Michigan.