Joro’s Web

June 11, 2024

The other night we were eating dinner out on our deck, and my eyes wandered to a weathered blue flyswatter hanging on a hook by the sliding glass door. I instantly recalled the jolly (if a bit macabre) sport that Aiden and Peter played a few summers back: Kill (ALL) The Spotted Lanternflies!! The weird, gaudy insects were clustering on, and damaging, our black walnut tree, and in general behaving dreadfully. We actually encouraged the boys to dispatch as many as possible, whacking away with the swatter.

Haven’t seen a single lanternfly this year, so I guess my grandsons are solely responsible for their extinction. Good work, gentlemen!

But wait! There’s more bug trouble on the horizon! Have you heard? The gigantic Joro spiders are coming!!!

These bizarre creepy crawlies, originally from Asia, coming to an American backyard near you, are, it is reported, as big as a human hand. They spin webs of up to 10 feet in diameter. Oh, and they are “mildly” poisonous as well. I haven’t slept since reading about them, and I fully expect the Joros to be just as horrifying as described. Oh, the press has since walked it back a tad: the mega-spiders will mostly be found in heavily wooded areas. They spin their webs high up in trees, not in a corner of your living room. They are “afraid of people” (but don’t they say that about EVERY terrifying creature, from grizzly bears to sharks? I find this notion preposterous. Why in heck would THEY fear US? I mean, there is the gun thing, I guess, but aside from that…) Let’s face it, though--even if the reports are exaggerating, even if a Joro’s only as big as half a human hand, that’s still too darned big for a spider.

On the plus side, this alarming news item temporarily pushed other major nightmares (climate crisis, war, long COVID, politics, Ye) to the sidelines of my brain. But it’s a stretch to call the arrival of giant spiders a “welcome diversion.” A welcome diversion would be the announcement of a million butterflies heading this way (wouldn’t that be beautiful? Sigh.) This is just one more Terrible Thing we’ll have to face, in a world that seems to have more than its fair share these days.

At any rate, I am thinking of prepping for a real-life remake of Arachnophobia, by dusting off my copy of Charlotte’s Web. The gentle E.B. White tale of a wise and lovable spider is, of course, a great classic of children’s literature. I remember finding Charlotte indeed both wise and lovable, and I wept when she died at the end of the book. But alas, I don’t remember my affection for a fictional character changing my mind about real spiders. Hated them then, hate them now.

It seems every time I decide to start loving nature, there’s something that gets in the way. I don’t WANT to despise the Great Outdoors! It’s all the Joros’ fault!


    I am an author (of five books, numerous plays, poetry and freelance articles,) a retired director (of Spiritual Formation at a Lutheran church,) and a producer (of five kids).

    I write about my hectic, funny, perfectly imperfect life.

    Please visit my website: or email me at



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