I watch them in the morning when I wake. And nightly by the flame light of the woodstove. They‘re not even 24 inches up from my flattened body. They crawl along the rough-hewn boards covering the ceiling; they crawl over the cedar logs supporting those ceiling boards. They are delicate, elegant, fragile-looking; they are deceptively fast.

They are so close to my face because I sleep in the top bunk bed. My little brother sleeps in the bottom bunk since he’s 3 ½ years younger and my parents are afraid he might fall out of the top bed. At first, I’m whiny scared of the creepy spiders and want to spray-kill them but Dad says they won’t bother me so I have to live with them. Whenever I whisper-whine my fears, my brother makes fun of me; calls me Baby Girl.

It doesn’t take too long for me to get used to them; by mid-summer, I wait for them to show themselves. I name them―even though they all look alike. Their activities are predictable, soothing.

The movements of these Daddy Long-Legs hypnotize me to sleep.

Dad and Grandpa started building this log cabin on Schroon Lake when I was four years old; they took me with them summer weekends to “help”. “We” cut down the cedar trees on the property, peeled off the bark, and used them vertically to create a one-room cabin. Large front windows face the lake; smaller side windows face the woods, and two small ones on the back face the outhouse and the trail up to the dirt access road. Heated by a 50-gallon oil drum woodstove placed horizontally and centered on the rear wall, the cabin was snug and comfortable on cool nights.

Dad built in two sets of log bunk beds against the side walls; one for Mom and him, the other for my brother and me. Eventually Mom made curtains to hang from lines of wires to create square “rooms” in front of the bunks. She said we all need privacy to get dressed and undressed.

When I am older and taller and my brother is bigger, we switch bunks. I feel quite grownup. He thinks this is big-boy heaven. The first night, as soon as he sees the Daddy Long-Legs, he whines, screeches, and cries to get down. Dad says, “No, go to sleep.”

I whisper to him, “Get used to them. They can be your sleep-friends.”

He continues to wail.

I whisper under my breath, “Who’s the Baby Girl now?”

5 thoughts on “All Those Legs by Leslie Sittner

    1. A charming story. I would like to have known the names you gave the crawlers and why. This would make a great chapter in a series of adventures at Grandpa’s cabin.

  1. A perfect ADK story Love the transition from fear-of to friendship-with another species. Several embedded lessons, including not killing off but befriending what we fear. So well-written, all my senses are stimulated.

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