Opinion Photo

It’s a scary world out there. Sometimes, we just need a friend. A buddy who will walk miles through a scorching desert, escape the perils of predators, suffer through the wind, rain and dust of monsoons with no map, GPS or cellphone, just to make it up your driveway, saunter in through your open door (or doggy door) and once again, grace your life with a visit. Welcome back Manuel! He is one big, beautiful tarantula, who every year for about 30 years, routinely spends a few months with my friend, Diane.

Diane gives us thrilling reports of finding Manuel in very odd places. You see, this is what he does. Shows up, unannounced and then lounges around the house for three months. On the ceiling (would scare me over my bed), in the shower stall (stay dirty that day), on the kitchen counter (eat out) and sometimes just resting on the back of the sofa (keep standing). And in a most peculiar place, resting inside her hair curlers (wear your hair straight). Yes, Manuel makes himself at home! 

Let me tell you the story from the beginning. Our spidey, shows up for about three months each year. The arachnid specialist at the Phoenix Zoo speculates that this tarantula has an established migration pattern which has been likely imprinted into the offspring. And since a female tarantula can live 25 years (males usually 10 to 12 years) it might be safe to say that this furry little beast is actually the son or daughter of Manuel. Or, could Manuel be Manuela?

It all started one July day, when Diane noticed something with a big belly and hairy legs walking into her house through an open door (no, it wasn’t her neighbor). Yikes, a spider of the biggest, furriest kind was strutting around her kitchen! Consider the kind heart and calm disposition that it takes to open your home to a big, fat spider! Not a pet, nor a companion, just a little creature of God that strolled innocently into the house and decided to hang around. After checking out the premises and the occupant, he liked what he found and keeps coming back.

This year, Manuel arrived much later than usual, at the end of October! Diane leaves the lights on for him, so he can catch plenty of bugs. Diane’s doggy greets Manuel like he is an old friend, sniffing the spider thoroughly but mostly leaving him alone. The cat also will acknowledge Manuel’s presence, yet never bothers him.

There might be problems in the world, but with Manuel’s arrival, it is a reminder that the earth is spinning on its proper axis and the stars are lined up just right. Life is good, because one, happy eight-legged critter seems to have found his way “home.” So, if you see one of our Arizona wonders, like the tarantula, please look kindly and do not be afraid. They may come unannounced, but they make perfect houseguests. So, leave your porch light on, as you never know who will show up and walk through your door.