“Everything that ‘everybody knows’ about spiders….is wrong!” – Rod Crawford
Their webs drop from the trees, cascading across our doors and windows. Some might describe a spider’s home as a masterpiece; a carefully executed road map for travel and, more importantly, a sticky net to catch prey. In Myths, Misconceptions, and Superstitions About Spiders, Rod Crawford writes, “The strongest material in the world is considered the silk that spiders create. Scientists haven’t been able to recreate this design even with all the technology we have today.”
There is a consciousness at work. This consciousness designs a life plan in alignment with its purpose. It creates all things necessary to sustain it physically and then waits in anticipation for that work to bear fruit. But alas, as often happens on planet Earth, the unexpected occurs. A home is destroyed by nature or others who share the Earth; the food supply runs out, it’s time to change course. Lessons are learned.
Sometimes, life offers the luxury or necessity to regroup and formulate a new plan. It may require a physical move or a new blueprint; perhaps a smaller, stronger foundation is required? Did he expand too quickly? Was the competition too intense or resources insufficient? Will his newfound determination sustain him and earn that which he works so hard to maintain? According to the DailyMail, “Spiders aren’t just clever; some have brains so huge they extend down into their legs.”
A storm blows through with rain and strong winds; I watch a spider cling tightly to his web. Success! They survive once again. I later find him in a new location, one that allows more shelter from the elements. Did he have time to prepare or was he forced into emergency mode? Does he accept his fate or lament over what was or mistakes made? Then one day, he’s gone. What does that mean, I wonder? Did he live a fulfilling life? Was he happy?
Interesting Spider Facts:
My spider just showed up one day, or so it seemed. I nearly walked into his web as I exited through one of two patio doors. His web was huge and so was he. He was brown with a large body and thick legs. His size startled me, but it was his web that captivated me. It covered the top thirty percent of my glass door and was truly beautiful. It glistened in the sunlight, highlighting its intricacies, appearing both fragile and solid at the same time. I stood in awe as I admired this piece of nature’s art. Did he “just know” how to do this? Did he enjoy his work and feel satisfaction upon completion?
Considering the web’s close proximity to my home and fear that I might later find him in my home, I approached my spider with an offer. If he would stay outside, I would do my best to protect his web; I sent him images of Post-It notes reminding me to exit through another door and not run into his web. As I turned to leave, feeling we had an agreement, I heard, “Wait! There’s something else you can do for me.” I waited in anticipation, “You can send me love,” he requested politely.
In a moment, I had bonded with this spider and genuinely cared about his welfare. I began checking on my new friend daily; admiring changes to his web, appreciating his creativity and fortitude, and just talking with him. I enjoyed our relationship and looked forward to our exchanges. I began communicating with other spiders, sometimes asking them to move their homes from my front entrance or walkway to prevent them from being destroyed.
Then it happened. Summer changed to fall and with it came the Pacific Northwest’s characteristic rain and windstorms. I watched the wind violently shake his web, often blowing him six inches or more in either direction, sometimes ripping away portions of his home. I worried my spider couldn’t survive the night.
Later that night, I woke to the sound of rain pounding against my bedroom window. My spider! I thought. Grabbing my robe, I ran down the stairs and flipped on the outside light, hopeful, I might find him.
Instead, I found nothing, not even a trace of him. His life and world had vanished completely.
I’ve thought a lot about my friend; the days I spent watching him bathing in the sunlight, enjoying a gentle breeze, and other times observing him working diligently on his home. A species I didn’t understand and once feared opened my eyes and heart to how alike we really are.
Friends I’ve shared my spider experience with have told me they now talk to spiders, ants, and more; and sometimes ask them to move their homes or make other requests. Best of all, they treat them with respect and honor their right to live among us.
Fall is again upon us and as I close my eyes for the night, memories of my spider flood my mind. I recall the things he brought to my life when he gently whispers in my ear, “You could honor me by writing about me and sharing my story.”