Spider Web Artistry

One recent morning while enjoying a cup of coffee in the living room, I suddenly saw what looked like a string hanging from the ceiling.  Then I noticed the small black spider dangling from the bottom.  If you have never watched a spider spinning a web, you should.

If my elderly mother had been present, she would have jumped up in panic and run for her shoes to whack it one.  She has an incredible fear of all things spider-like.  Recently, she saw one in her bathroom, a spider she claims was enormous in size and apparently deadly.  She raced out of the bathroom to get a shoe to attack it, ran back in and chased it around before slipping on the bathroom rug, falling, and hitting her head on the edge of the sink.  She was ecstatic at her kill and nonchalant about the huge bruise on her forehead.  I made her go to the doctor who tried to impress upon her the danger of a fall at her age.  He filled her in on the horrific consequences of a broken hip, the required stay in a nursing home and inevitable death from pneumonia.  Did any of that impress her?  Not a bit.  She just smiled and repeated her story that this was a huge spider that had the potential to kill her more quickly than a fall involving a head injury.

That morning as I pointed out to my husband that a small spider was in the process of spinning his web downward toward the coffee table, he quietly got up, went into the kitchen to get a paper towel, walked back to the living room and wrapped up the little critter before he reached the table.  My husband then carefully and slowly walked over to the sliding glass door, opened it up, and gently laid the spider down on the deck.  I have no idea what might have been going through the mind of the spider at the time.  I don’t even know if spiders have a mind, at least maybe not the kind of mind that would question a sudden interruption in the spinning process, or wonder why his nice, warm environment suddenly became the cold autumn air and the solid wood of the deck beneath his legs.   I’d like to think he just shrugged his shoulders (I don’t really know if spiders have shoulders either) and went about his day.

This spider was certainly luckier than that huge, ugly, black toxic spider in my mother’s bathroom that morning, although he did manage to achieve a certain insidious revenge by causing my mother’s fall.  I am really convinced that all life is worth sparing, and the artful spider who spins a delicate web so gracefully in our presence can add a sense of wonder to our days if we only allow it.

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