March, Month of rain and spiders scuttles by.

Spiderwise, it’s always been busy at this time of year in Brisbane,

especially if the big storms come blustering and blundering in like they used to.

Then the garden blossoms with spider webs

Strung high in every tree!

Bejewelled with crystal rain drops

Shimmering and iridescent, floating in the breeze!


Most of the spiders I don’t even know their names. We’ve never been formally introduced you see. Like the shy, grey, furry-legged spider that industriously takes its web down each dawn, and puts it up again in the cool of evening. Or the daytime spiders, who distinguish themselves one from another with their colourful tribal markings.

The St Andrews Cross spiders sit smug

in their shimmerimg silky saucers, limbs neatly aligned, whilst

the Golden Orb spider casts its great, gauzy net,

stretching from tree to tree.

Elsewhere, smaller, unknown spider species set up camp under every spare leaf & twig.

In this month the mother spiders swell and grow fat with eggs,

storing up supplies in abundance in their silken pantry

for the hundreds of ravenous, pin-head sized young ones that will soon emerge.

Meanwhile, the matriarch arachnid queens rule their quiet corners of the yard

like silent statues of some malign, oriental goddess,

endowed with many unblinking eyes.


Then, one day, the spiders disappear, the webs are in tatters

and only a silken eggsack cocoon remains behind,

fluttering in Aprils first chill breezes.

(Though even that may be hidden away amongst the leaves.)

Next, after an interval, fist sized clusters of little spiders erupt and hang together

for a day or two, in quivering

translucent webs like miniture constellations

filled with tiny spider stars.

Each baby spider pale the colour of ivory. If you touch the web, a little wave of moving legs ripples through their universe.

The next day they split in all directions, gone to seek their fortune, some to eat and some to be eaten, and next autumn at summer’s end the rains will come and there’ll be another generation of spider queens hanging in the breeze.


As you may have guessed, Unlike many of my human bretheren,

I do not have a deep seated and unreasoning fear and hatred of spiders.

Nor do I object to sharing my living space with them.

I have never deliberately killed a spider and they have never bitten me.

We get on fine.

The corners of my room are cheerfully festooned with webs,

and the great long-legged huntsman may prowl my walls at will.

Sadly though it’s been a good, long while since I’ve seen one of the gigantic Huntsman specimens that you used to get in Brisbane even ten, or fifteen years ago.

The numbers of the harmless huntsman have been regrettably reduced by scrub clearance, poisons and the primitive arachnophobia of most humans. Yes the elder statesmen of their species are far too large & easy a target to miss with a shoe.


I myself can’t stand the feel of a large specimen running across my skin, but that’s no reason to kill them. I instead maintain for spiders a decent amount of caution and respect, as is their due.

They in turn do their job, which is to thin considerably the numbers of flies,

mosquitoes and cockroaches in my immediate environment,

reducing my need to use chemical poisons.


Yes, I do have a deep seated fear and hatred

of chemical poisons being used in a casual fashion,

and the times I’ve really felt I had to use such products have been few indeed.

For termites maybe. Redbacks maybe. Otherwise, Tea-tree oil, lavender and citronella

are sovereign remedies for most ‘nuisance’ insects, from cockroaches to headlice.

 No my friends, I can’t stand poisons and nor can I stand those mass-murdering bug-zappers, indiscriminately killing everything on wings. How casually we wipe out whole species with little thought. You used to be able to tell the time of year in Brisbane by what insect swarms covered the ceiling. This is the month of Christmas beetles, you’d say..this is the month of the flying ants..this is the month when the rhinocerous beetles lumber clumsily about the place. The month when the large, velvet winged woodmoths come fluttering in heavily at dawn, looking for somewhere cool and dark to rest during the day. (No, they don’t eat your clothes) The summer months a kaleidoscope of moths, monstrous & diminuative patterned on my ceiling. Fragile lacewings, beetles like sci-fi masterpieces, noisy cicada’s, where are they now?

Now the seasonal insect swarms are gone and another part of Brisbane’s character dies unnoticed. Few Brisbanites would have stopped to consider the wonder of these natural cycles while they still happened, and few would mourn their passing. Many would think this is a good thing, a sign of progress perhaps. Insects are, after all, only a nuisance.

Oh, who will mourn the passing of the myriad insect hordes, who but I.


So when I see bug-zappers on the supermarket’s shelves

I feel like ‘accidently’ dropping them on the floor

and mistakenly stepping on them just to make sure.

Oh dear, oh dear, is it broken?

But of course, being a respectable Reverend,

I could never advocate such tactics.


I might mention also that I can’t stand girls who squeal

at harmless insects either, by the by,

the ‘girly’ type that freaks out if there’s a moth or beetle in the house.

Sadly I’ve known a few like that, including a couple of lipstick-dykes.

Ladies, I told them, your letting the Sisterhood down.

Fortunately my Personal Assistant is a kind-hearted and sensible girl,

who regularly rescues insects trapped in jars

or lying flat upturned on their back,

and releases them out into the garden

without making a bother or fuss.


If only there were more like her, the world would be a better place.

At least for insects





~ by reverendhellfire on March 28, 2010.


  1. Blessed are the spiders, indeed!! Thank you for sharing this with me!

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