My house is over-run with cobwebs right now. I just can't bring myself to sweep them away. Our little house spiders aren't hurting anyone. In fact, they are providing a useful service by catching all those nasty flies and mosquitoes that have also found their way inside.
Spiders good, flies and mosquitoes bad.
I have a soft spot for these spiders that, through no fault of their own, have somehow wound up in our home rather than outdoors where they belong. They didn't ask to be here, they just lost their way. Why should I kill them when they aren't causing any trouble? I know it sounds silly, but I just can't justify taking the life of something that is simply minding its own business. My children laugh at me when they see me take a tissue and gently trap the spider inside it, then take it outdoors and set it free.
But it's a whole different story with any critter that MIGHT cause harm. For instance, where I live in Northern California, the dreaded Black Widow spider strikes fear into the hearts of children and grown men alike. We have a few of those in our yard. Probably more than a few, but I choose to live in denial. (That's true about life in general, but we'll save that for another time.) They hide under ledges and flower pots and can strike when you least expect it. I have no qualms about killing them. Well, that is not entirely true. I still feel guilty when I have to snuff out a life, but I do it anyway because I simply can not have that kind of danger lurking around my home. Just a few days ago I had to kill one that was living on a plant by our front door. I begged my teenage son to come do it for me, but he was too lazy to get up off the couch and put his shoes on. It had to be done quickly because those wily creatures know when you have spotted them, and they disappear in the blink of an eye. They are masters at hide and seek. I had no spider spray handy, and we have found that doesn't always work anyway, so I had to stomp on it. I can still see my shoe lifting and coming down on that poor spider's back, and this vision has haunted me for days. But I had to do it! Lord, please forgive me.
I feel that same remorse anytime I have to kill anything. Ants, flies, mosquitoes and yes, even cockroaches, the most disgusting creature on planet Earth, maybe even in the entire universe. That is why I like spiders. They do the killing for me-- all in the name of survival. The whole food chain thing is ok by me. I'm down with that.
I won't kill mice though. Those traps are inhumane. We had mice once. Lots of them. I asked my husband to please buy the live traps and I promised I would deal with the result. We caught several, and I took the traps outside and let them go in a field near our house. Now that I think about it, maybe those "several" mice were/was actually the same one returning for more free cheese.
One time we woke up to find a real live bat on our living room ceiling! Now that is nothing to mess around with. When a bat finds its way into your house, something is probably wrong with it, and we all know that something could be rabies. I had to call animal control to come get it. I didn't know that animal control, once they captured it, would have to euthanize it to test if for rabies. I still feel horrible about that. But what choice did I have?
Luckily we have never had a snake in our house or in our yard, but if we did, I wouldn't wish it dead. I would run screaming to the nearest phone to call animal control and let them deal with it.
I'm ok with my soft-hearted ways, even if others think I'm foolish. Compassion for all living creatures is a major tenet of many religions. Do unto others ... even if the others are spiders and snakes. It creates good Karma. What comes around goes around. We all share the Earth and we must keep in mind that each small action by one has a ripple effect on others. Killing something for no good reason--well, that could just come back to you in a pretty bad way. Think about that!
So the song that has been in my brain while writing this is this oldie but goodie by Jim Stafford. Lordy, am I dating myself!