TBT: Tarantulas and the Hygge

The weather in the mountains this past weekend was delightfully chilly, and it seems the cold up on Mount Mitchell has blown down into South Carolina.  In short, the weather is perfect—warm afternoons, and crisp, autumnal mornings.  I’ve been taking a cup of half-caff coffee in the afternoons after getting home from work and watering the garden, and it’s been glorious sitting on the porch and enjoying the coolness of the evening.

That first nip in the air is a sign that the hygge—the Danish concept of contented, warm coziness—is near.  It’s a time for bundling up and staying warm in old quilts with good books—and good company!  Food tastes better, coffee seems more satisfying, and my mind feels more alert and alive this time of year.

There’s also college football, which is nice, too—and Halloween!

So it seemed like a good time to look back to a post from March of this year, during South Carolina’s unusually cool—and longspring.  This post, “Tarantulas and the Hygge,” explored what I called “the weird side of the Internet,” traveling “down one of those byways of oddity.”

That particular byway was Tarantula Heaven, the website of Patricia “Patty” Colli.  Patricia—whom I accurately described as the “toothsome proprietor” of the site—puts out interesting YouTube videos every Tuesday (which she dubs “Tarantula Tuesdays”).  I don’t intend on purchasing or raising a tarantula, but her videos have given me an opportunity to learn about the solitary, strangely noble tarantula.

Also, Patricia’s popular Grammostola rosea, Spidey, once shot a mating call Patricia’s way—proof that these spiders have good taste.

But I digress.  To prepare for the hygge—with or without a gigantic woolly spider by your side—here is March 2020’s “Tarantulas and the Hygge“:

One of the joys of blogging is discovering the weird side of the Internet—the fun weird side, not the dark, inappropriate weird side.  Today’s post is a trip down one of those byways of oddity.

My blogger buddy photog posted a striking stack photography image a couple of weeks ago with the enigmatic title “Name That Tooth.”  He invited readers to identify a truly remarkable fang.

After studying the image for a few moments, I ventured a guess, which turned out to be correct:  it was the lethal, chitinous fang of the mighty tarantula.

But before I knew I was correct, I naturally sought answers on the Internet.  As is the wont of Internet surfing, I quickly found myself down a tarantula rabbit hole (I suppose I should just write “a tarantula hole,” since they dig them prodigiously).

My sojourn led me to the website Tarantula Heaven, which is surely an oxymoron, as any heaven full of gigantic, woolly spiders is probably closer to hell.  If you’re looking for whimsical video and blog posts filled with advice about caring for these curious critters, though, it’s an arachnitopia.

Every Tuesday, the toothsome proprietor of the website, Patricia, puts out a “Tarantula Tuesday” video via her YouTube page (to which I am now subscribed, in part out of intellectual curiosity, in part out of curiosity in Patricia).  Most of these deal with the caring for tarantulas, such as dealing with the dreaded nematodes, but she also delves into the peculiar personalities and quirks of tarantulas.

Such was the topic of this Tuesday’s edition of “Tarantula Tuesday,” which explored tarantulas’ fastidious housekeeping and decorating activities.  Per Patricia, the tarantulas are “Masters of the Art of Hygge“:

Readers may recall my post “The Joy of Autumn,” in which I discussed the Danish concept of hygge (which I have apparently been mispronouncing in my head—another kudos to Patricia for correcting me in her winsome manner).  Z Man also write about the idea,  in a post whose title I realize I likely ripped off when writing my own ode to autumnal coziness.

According to Patricia, tarantulas are borderline obsessive-compulsive about their living spaces, as they’re constantly moving around dirt, toys (Patricia mentions a Ping Pong ball—that I’ve gotta see), webbing, etc.  If she introduces a new piece of decoration into their tanks or cleans them, it puts the spiders into a tizzy.

She also notes that “tarantulas love being in their homes.”  There’s a good bit of anthropomorphizing in this video, but it certainly makes these active arachnids more relatable.  I’m not the tidiest housekeeper, but I surely do love time burrowed away in my country bungalow, busying myself with rearranging sloppy stacks of books and papers (often instead of doing real work).  My desk, for example, has a very precise sequence of stacked remotes, mobile video game consoles, and pens, small books, and receipts.

Sure, it sounds messy, but it works.  Even as I write this blog post (wishing Patricia were my Queen Spider; ¡Ay caramba!), I’m nudging little bits of paper around and realigning pens; never mind that I desperately need to change my air filters.

Tarantula pens certainly look grubby—full of dirt and tunnels and spidery bric-a-brac—but there is a beautiful hominess and sense of place to their glassed-in domains.

Of course, we’re all playing tarantula these days, with our social distancing and state-mandated hygge (it takes the fun out of it when you’re required to be cooped up at home), spinning wheels instead of spinning webs (though some humans are likely doing both).

Unlike the noble little tarantula, though, I get the sense we’re far more defanged.

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