Thursday, October 14, 2010

Along Came A Spider...

Along came a spider…and it built a huge web right in front of my door. And when I say huge, I don’t mean it the way a fisherman would when describing his catch. When I say huge, I mean a king-size spread of sticky goodness which could trap a grown man and make him scream for his mommy.

Interestingly enough, I didn’t even notice the web at first, when I went out to place a new umbrella over my patio table. It was my son – a big boy of almost sixteen who secretly dreams of being a Ninja and claims to be afraid of nothing – that jumped a foot off the floor when he went to close the door and saw the spider proudly guarding its work of art an inch away from his face.

At first instinct I thought of removing the uninvited guest and ask him to find a room elsewhere, possibly really far away; but then, given that Morgan asked to have a Halloween birthday party, I decided to leave it alone and treat it as a nearly perfect Halloween decoration. After all, who am I to spit on a free, suggestive bit of decoration?

Jokes aside, my decision to keep the spider and even go as far as finding it a name (don’t laugh, the name is Charlie – suggested by my son in honor of Charlotte from Charlotte’s web), is actually a personal confirmation. Several years ago I was terrified of spiders, and while over time I came to accept that for some strange, arcane reason, they too had to have a purpose in the greater scheme of all things, I never forgave whoever is in charge of deciding the shape and look of living things for making spiders look so creepy and hideous. At some point of my life I have believed that if I was chased by a murdering maniac with a knife, and my only escape path was through a thick patch of woods in late summer, then I would have gladly stopped and asked to be stabbed. That’s how terribly afraid of spiders I was! Well, things have changed. I still think spiders are hideous, but while I wouldn’t pet them, I can now peacefully cohabitate with them.

So, our pet/owner relationship began (monster/crazy woman sounds closer to reality, but cut me a little slack here, will you?), and while I waited for Morgan to get home from school I brew a pot of coffee and sat at the kitchen table with the newspaper. Once in a while I raised my eyes to look at Charlie, completely immobile in the center of his web, and I couldn’t help but marveling at the perfection and beauty of what he had created. And not only that…I quickly realized that Charlie surely had one of me: Patience. The poor soul clung in the middle of that web for hours, before an unsuspecting insect finally gave itself up as a mid-afternoon snack.

The spider waited. And then it waited some more. All along, it had no certainty that anything would fly near and would be attracted to the flowery illusion of its web, but in the end, its effort and patience were rewarded. A juicy insect was drawn to the web like a sailor charmed by the melodious voice of a siren, and before it even knew what happened, its time had come. The spider waited some more, to give the insect the chance to tire out, before wrapping it into a silky grave.

By the time I looked away from the mesmerizing scene, it was too late to read any articles – Morgan’s bus was due to arrive in just a few minutes. So, I left to go welcome my daughter home, all the while thinking about the spider and its unbelievable patience. Good things come to those who wait, someone claimed. I’m sure Charlie would agree.

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