* Re "Snakes, Pests Rattling Nerves: Shelter-Seeking Critters Pose Danger, Nuisance Near Homes," Sept. 1.
The person quoted in this story as saying someone who finds a spider in their house should "get something and smash it" must prefer the fly and the mosquito. There are only two spiders in Southern California with a dangerous bite: the black widow and the brown recluse. And you'd have to put your hand in some unlikely places to find either one.
Every other spider is your harmless and often beautiful friend. Good luck raising a garden without the spider.
The rattlesnake is the only viper in the American West, and even it only strikes when cornered or surprised and usually gives a timely warning. If they frighten you, keep a king snake around the yard and you'll never see a rattler. And the gopher snake will do as much to keep down the rats and gophers.
To lump all snakes and spiders together and characterize them as nasty and dangerous is both cruel and ignorant. The truth is, we couldn't get along without them.
* Did you see them? Were you among the early joggers and walkers last weekend who witnessed the magnificent display? They were everywhere. From branch to pole, eaves to fence, and bush to mailbox. It was a perfect synthesis of all the right conditions to dazzle the eye of human wonder. In every direction, spiders had spun their geometric medallions throughout the unusually hot and humid night.
Then, in the soft light of the misty dawn, we awoke to a neighborhood bedecked in webs of dewy diamonds. Webs glistened from archways, turning Spanish stucco into Victorian gingerbread. Rows of webs stretched across driveways giving the appearance of pearled canopies. Hundreds of glassy webs twinkled from trees as if all had been tinseled for Christmas.
Lately, I've been too busy, too rushed and too distracted to notice much of anything but the time. I don't walk in my neighborhood often because I'm usually in my car getting one more errand accomplished.
That's how I happened upon this splendid spectacle. I was dashing to the post office to beat the early morning pick-up when my rush-around life was slowed to 5 mph. A heavily moisture-laden web had sagged into its own lower half, hitting my windshield in the exact likeness of the Cheshire Cat's suspended smile.
Nature redecorates our world every day. Do we notice? Are we past the speed at which we stop without crashing? Are too many gigabytes and baud rates preventing us from visiting these web sights?
BETSY S. ROMAN