Last week, when I was in Maine for my cousin Val's wedding, a bunch of my young next-gen cousins regaled me with a tale of horror... The had swum out to a floating swimming/diving dock not far from the family cabin. While there, they encountered a creature of nightmare, which they took to be a humongous wolf spider with an egg sac, lairing on the side of the dock near the waterline. They were somewhat daunted by this creature, but they bravely took up their position on the dock, which makes a lovely platform from which to jump into the lake. Then, the unthinkable happened, the egg sac burst open, releasing a swarm of spiderlings onto the dock. In the face of this arachnid onslaught, my young cousins vacated the dock.
After recounting this tale of shuddery, spidery grue, they (naturally) insisted that I accompany them on a swim to Spider Dock. When we reached this woeful sight, they pointed out the gruesome creature, a spider with a legspan of over two inches. Me being me, knowing that knowledge is better than comfort, I revealed the truth, even more dreadful than they imagined:
"Guys, that's not a wolf spider, it's a fishing spider. It didn't stow away on the dock while it was towed away from the land, it got here on its own, and if you managed to dislodge it, it would just return on its own."
I am happy to say that this revelation was met with grit- even as the spider was revealed as a creature more formidable than they originally thought, they lost any fear of the beast. That's what the trips to the North Country are for- to put fear behind, to learn the beauty of the dark, the enchantment of eerie noises, to realize that mysteries are exercises the intellect can solve.