Kure has provided me with friends of all sizes. Some are large…very large indeed. The albatross with their 6ft wingspan, the ‘Iwa with one similar. Though there is one more creature that seems to have taken my fancy, that is unequivocally large, called a Cane Spider. Now, it by no means has wings as long as a person or stands as tall as my knees, but to see a Cane Spider for the first time results in a jerk reaction that will make you say something loud or expletive, and usually take a good few steps backward. They are about the size of my palm, my hands being a bit on the large side themselves, have eight long furry legs, and a big fluffy bottom covered in brown stripes. You find them in the most peculiar of places, the first one I found just happened to be in the tub where we keep our loo paper (you can never trust a toilet that’s outside) and certainly made me glad to have looked twice.
So Cane spiders and I didn’t get off to the greatest start, but that wasn’t about to ruin my track record of befriending every creature, no matter how big, small, harmless or otherwise, they were. After all, they live in every crevice and shelf that is made available to them, so I was just going to have to get used to it. Surprisingly, after a few had come to show themselves as nothing more than a bunch of scaredy-cats, I found that I couldn’t bring myself to fear them in the slightest. Back at home, I give most spiders their own respective distance (except for daddy-longlegs, which have subsequently taken up a board in my room), but here they seem to be a picture of feeble innocence. To pull a bottle of turmeric off the shelf and have a large spider quickly dart away to live in the shadow of some other spice on the rack feels like nothing more than a childish game of hide-and-seek, usually making me smile and snort a little bit. They have become ever more like house pets than some sort of hideous long-legged creature invading our personal space, ‘There’s spice spider!’ we’d say if it ventured out to greet us at lunch, ‘Look, she’s caught herself a fly!’.
There is a rather regular one on the East window sill that will often share our lunch breaks with us, dragging her fat body along the edge of the window and perching herself upside down – something we could never figure out why – and launching at any flies that dared come too close. We would all laugh and watch in earnest as she spun in circles and leaped left, right and centre, it was as though we were watching a Sir David Attenborough documentary unfold right in front of us.
I have quickly grown very fond of these large, goofy spiders. They have none of the terror usually associated with other of their kind, I would feel more than comfortable scooping one up for a cuddle! (Though I don’t know how much they’d like that). That does not mean, however, that they are not a surprising guest. I had the pleasure of finding a very large one enjoying the comfort of my floor-bed while I had been away. “Oh well,” I thought, “nothing a dustpan can’t handle,” and with a prod on the behind, I walked it all the way to the front door, like I was escorting a stubborn and muddy child back outside and clean their feet off.
So far, my encounters with Cane Spiders have brought nothing more than a laugh or surprise, they contribute greatly to the joy that this island sparks within me. I only wonder that if the world saw spiders like the beautiful Canes through the eyes of a creepy-crawly lover like me, whether or not we would all share in a few more friends, no matter how long-legged and beastly.