Nature is a part of working and living at a summer camp. It is part of the challenge, the perks, the overall experience. Most of it is good, occasionally we run across things that are not so good - like when the bridge connecting the two side of camp is flooded (again), bug bites, poison ivy (not me, but others), bad cell phone service (and climbing a hill to get it), camp food (even from good kitchens staff gets sick of the constant repeats), shared living space (everyone gets pushed sometimes), and bathroom situations (at Girl Scout camp we used latrines). I expected mice. I expected snakes and bugs... I actually like a lot of them, defending & protecting the spider webs in my Craft Hall corners, but spending my days in a Craft Hall one does not expect to run across some of the same things a Naturalist might. I was a bit wrong.
At one camp my Craft Hall was located near the Camp Office, staff quarters, a recycling shed, and down a little hill from the kitchen at the back end of the dining hall. It was a good location, convenient, but much of my own space. I liked having the Recycling Shed nearby for retrieval or disposal of things like cardboard. One quiet afternoon I had been cleaning and organizing (a constant battle in that world) and headed the short walk to the shed, a piece of cardboard in hand. As I opened the sliding metal door, I felt something fall down the side of my face, inside of my glasses, and down. I thought perhaps it was a dust ball or something, but as I looked down to my arm, I was not expecting to see a large brown spider. (About an inch to inch-and-a-half in diameter of legs.) I knew what it was, having had a Naturalist show me a large, battle scarred brown recluse that was living in a woodpile not long before. With the brown recluse resting on the edge of my three quarter sleeve, I look around me. No one was in sight and it was doubtful if anyone would hear me call out without having to yell and even then not necessarily right away. With a piece of cardboard in hand, I made a decision and with one swift movement of the cardboard I sent the spider flying and away from me. I like spiders and had no desire to kill the thing, but I did not want it on me or biting me. It just goes to show you, that even the Craft Instructor can face down the BIG bugs that can hurt you while keeping one's cool and without needing rescued. (Although, I happily took the help when it came to removing the occasional dead mouse or squirrel found among my storage shelves.)
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