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Spiders and Weavers

© Myriah Krista Walker 2001

A garden spider weaves her web while I watch from the other side of the windowpane. The web is attached to the window, a corner outside wall of the cabin, and the eaves of the roof. Her total acreage encompasses about a 3' space.

She weaves as if she is swimming, seemingly wading in mid air with no support, and yet I know she is walking a fine line of thread that I cannot see. She just weaves, always moving in a forward direction, taking a silken thread to its next destination. If she makes a mistake, no worries. There is more thread at hand.

Her webs must be producing ample dining, for already she seems much larger than a week ago when she first claimed her territory in this space and place. She had begun her web tentatively, a tad unsure. This evening she weaves like one who has experienced the banquet, and spins these familiar steps with surety.

She stops and takes a break, clutching the web upside down. Does she feel out of balance? Out of place? Does she pray for direction? Does she trust she is on the right path, or is she simply BEING? Does she ever feel confused, misunderstood, or is she simply content to BE who she is, merrily weaving along, doing the work at hand.

When I tune into her, I feel on edge. Anxious. There is a certain thrill at hand in the weaving; knowing a future capture is at hand. I sense hunger, but not quite ripe and full yet. Not yet. I sense also a great and quiet knowing. That silent kind of knowing that grandmothers and grandfathers seem to helplessly emanate. I think that is what is called patience.

I sense the simplicity of her life. Weaving, waiting, warring, feasting. Strength is in the present moment, and the future is not even something thought of. Perhaps that is the power of spiders. All that warrior energy harnessed in the pure and present moment. No wonder humans conjure so much fright from such a small creature!

I suppose if her web does not catch anything, then she will revise it. She won't know until she tries. There is no one to compare or consult with. There is only she, the web, and the intent of catching a meal. She is even unaware of the curious writer on the other side of the pane, drinking in her every move. She can only act from intuition and instinct. Like me, her skills will develop and improve with experience.

A piece of lint gets tethered, and she uses it as a marker for the center of the web, going back and forth to this fluff and anchoring many lines to it. Something that interrupted her plans becomes an unexpected useful thing of purpose.

She tests the web, feeling with long front legs where it is weak, where it needs repair, and where it can be left alone. Silk emanates from her body like a musical note, waiting for the composer to anchor it in the place that will bring the perfect pitch and tone.

The song has brought a baby spider to her web, who tentatively checks it out. Quickly it senses the weight of the heavier arachnid, and disappears over the edge of the roof and out of sight before the weaver notices the peeping Thomasina.

I spent my day cleaning house and reviewing a book a friend wrote. In the evening I began to berate myself for not doing my own writing. A writer always thinks they should be writing even when it's okay to be doing other things. Does the spider berate herself? Do spider's pray for prey?
Spiders weave webs in order to catch their prey, just as writers, I suppose, weave stories in order to catch the minds and hearts of others. And, I suppose, a spider will never run out of silk to weave into webs, just like a writer will never run out of letters to weave into words.

How easy the garden spider who weaves an octagonal web by habit and design. Anything not conform to design is where the work is at hand. But what of the writer, whose words to come have no form and pattern? A writer tosses words and letters out before her like an acrobat walking a tight rope, or a spider weaving a web. If she is lucky, there is a piece of fluff with which to center her story around. And, like the spider, she will go back and proof her weavings when the first draft is done, and make repairs and add support where necessary.
The spiders inside my cabin do not weave octagonal pretty webs. The spiders inside are widows whose webs hang in unexpected places, collecting dust and debris and becoming invisible. Invisible, that is, until unexpected company arrives, in which they then take on a luminescence and glow and seem to be everywhere at once. Eeghads!

The wolf spiders in my cabin have free reign. Seldom seen (and usually in a hurry when they are), they are fat and happy. A good sign, as this means they are busy eating other spiders and critters within the cabin. There is a large arachnid food chain going on in this home. Everybuddy is fair game. I learned some time ago that spiders are one of my guardian spirits. I am well protected here, for sure and for certain (haha!).

I once had a conversation with a recluse spider. My first arachnid communication of its kind. Previously I had never really thought (or even had the opportunity) of having a conversation with one, but suddenly there he was upon a table in the loft, eye to eye and a foot away. Involuntarily I shuddered and recoiled. Involuntarily he startled and raised his two front legs. I giggled, and then felt the Warrior in me awaken. How DARE he take such a stance against me!
"Hey buddy," I began speaking to him telepathically. "I don't much care for spiders of your kind, and I can't believe I am talking to you now, but I'm willing to be hospitable. Maybe."
One front leg relaxed. He was listening.

"Here's the deal. I won't squash you if you respect my home and my space. The minute I see you on me, or that you are trying to bite or harm me, that's it." (I sent him a mental picture of him flattened with his guts moistening the table). "I will respect your space, as long as you respect mine."

The other leg relaxed. He moved back just a titch, and I relaxed my posture as well. I knew without a doubt he heard me. We then went about our merry ways, and I didn't see him for probably a month.

When I did it was not on pleasant terms. I was waking up in bed, when LO he crawled upon the blanket and touched my arm! "Hey!" I yelled, whereupon he jumped and went the other way, and I swear I heard him saying, "Oh my gosh! So sorry. I forgot. Oh my gosh. I'm hurrying, I'm outta here." I didn't know recluse spiders could move that fast. I have not seen him since.

The garden spider is done now, and has removed the bit of fluff at the center of the web. No sense giving away the trap I suppose. She waits upside down in the center now. The evening bugs are just beginning to make their flights about, and it looks as though she will have a busy and productive evening. The light from the computer on my side of the windowpane will naturally draw insects to her web. She has chosen her site wisely.

As for moi, I have satisfied the need to weave letters into words, at least for now. No longer will I berate Self for having an unproductive day. I have caught you, dear reader, for a moment in time. It's just another day in paradise.