On a recent sunny, warm Sunday afternoon, I was going to sit on the back porch and do a little reading. I opened the back door and was startled by this humongous spider right in front of my face. I assumed it to be a SHE, based on my readings of Charlotte’s Web, and I immediately shut the door in her face and watched her shimmy up her web and hide in the eaves. It was only then, behind the safety of my door, that I noticed the handiwork of the eight-legged wonder. A massive design of intricate patterns captivated me inside my home. I wasn’t about to disturb the scary spider, so I have allowed her to stay rent-free on my back porch for now what’s going on 2 weeks. Periodically, I’ll peer out the back door window and take a gander at her web. It’s growing. And every once in a lucky while, I’ll get to see her trap an unsuspecting insect, swaddle it in her silk, and save it for later.
I can’t quite put my finger on if she’s a poisonous spider or not, but I’m sort of enjoying watching the creepy creature, in a weird kind of way. That’s because I simply hate spiders. They creep me out, and to think that the hugest spider alive is hanging from the roof of my house is unnerving, yet captivating at the same time. As I’ve watched her, I’ve come to realize something. If I don’t mess with her, she won’t mess with me. Now, if she shows up INSIDE my house, then the gloves come off and the broom comes down. My initial reaction to seeing her and her huge lattice work, in all honesty, was to get a broom and knock her and it down, stomp her under my heavy sneaker, and forever be rid of the ghastly sight. The only thing stopping me was the fear that I’d miss and she’d land on my head. I’d dance around trying to shake her loose, but she’d grab on and hold tightly. I’d never find her, so the entire rest of the day, I’d feel squeamish and would constantly scratch at myself, wondering when she was going to crawl from her hiding place. Then, while I lay innocently asleep that night, she would bite me or lay little spider eggs on my cheek, which would hatch during the night, and I’d awake to thousands of eight-legged creepy creatures crawling all over me. You know you’ve had the same sort of thoughts…like the urban legends we’ve heard so often before.
So, I decided it would be best to let her exist free of my prowess. And she is teaching me a new appreciation for the wonder of creation. What we often drag down with our brooms is the culmination of a spider’s life’s mission. Her very means of existence. Her survival. And I think to myself, what right do I have to knock down someone else’s entire identity? Besides her eight legs and abdomen, her cephalothorax and spinnerets, what makes a spider a spider is the fact that she can do something not a lot of other creatures can do. And to move into English teacher mode, we can learn a great lesson from Gertie, which is what I’ve decided to call her since Charlotte was already taken. We each have our own design. Our own special, one-of-a-kind capability. Our own destiny to live out. We weave our webs of our own accord, and no one can duplicate what we have to offer. So, when we feel downtrodden or forgotten; when we feel chosen over or in last place; when we feel like we have nothing to offer, we can squirt some silk out of our butts and hang from the side of the house in full awareness that no one else can offer this world what we can. And that should bring us solace in a world full of brooms and heavy sneakers.