Posts Tagged ‘spider’

That’s all I could think of to say. And with that, I closed the bathroom door as fast as I could.

Holy Moly! That was the biggest spider I have ever seen in any place I’ve lived! (though not the biggest one I’ve ever seen.)  Including his legs, which were kind of scrunched up, he took up a circular space about 2″ in diameter. What to do?

OK, the usual paper cup I put over other insects to take them outside might not even cover this guy, and I didn’t want to waste any time, because if he got into the bathroom, he could probably find his way out again. Think! Got it. I had a 1/2 pint deli container that would work. I opened the bathroom door and he hadn’t moved. I carefully placed the container over him, which scared him quite a bit, then very gently slid the piece of cardboard underneath. Now he was panicking trying to get out. Just hold on, I kept telling him, as I made my way out the side door.

While I might have released a smaller spider at the far end of the driveway, I really didn’t want to see this guy again anytime soon, so we walked down to the river. Over the tracks, there was a large pile of brush and broken branches of various sizes and plenty of leaf litter. Perfect. I put the container and cardboard down and tipped it so he could get out. He made a few false starts then out he went. Within seconds, he blended into his surroundings and couldn’t even be seen. Whew!

I had only seen a spider that big once before – in the library meeting room where my writers’ group met. (He got released, too.) My research when I got home had identified that one as a wolf spider, and I believe this one is, too. I searched on The Bug Guide, and found some photos with the unusual patterning that this spider had. (Thanks to Charley Eiseman for this photo which shows that patterning perfectly.)

So now the question … why did he appear to me? I am of the belief that when animals appear to us it may be of significance. The best resource I’ve found for understanding the meaning of a particular animal who may be a totem is Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak. He tells us this about spiders appearing in our lives: the spider is associated in mythology and by mystics with 3 primary expressions  – the magic and energy of creation, the assertiveness of that creative force, (particularly keeping the feminine energies of creativity alive), and an association with spiral energy, i.e., the links with the past and future. According to Ted Andrews, some of the questions one might ask when Spider comes into our lives are … Are you moving toward a specific goal or becoming scattered? Are you focusing on others’ accomplishments rather than your own? Are you not weaving your dreams and imaginings into reality? Are you feeling closed in or stuck? Do you need to write? Are you inspired to write or draw and not following through?

This is just a tiny sampling of the wisdom that surrounds the lore and potential magic/inspiration with Spider as a totem. Andrews writes 4 lengthy pages on the spider alone. Having re-read about Spider appearing in my life, as I did when he appeared to my writing group, I am led to believe that it is now time for me to return to my most creative self. And if the size of that spider is any indication … I’d say in a BIG way.

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Even before the leaves surrender their greens for red and gold, there are other changes afoot – creatures prepare for the coming winter, some rallying in their final efforts to survive before their lives slowly wind down to a natural end.

Each year in this house I watch an orb-weaving spider weave a large and complex web over the top half of a kitchen window.

It doesn’t seem a very auspicious spot, as her prey would need to be flying through the web to the glass not even a half inch behind. Yet each year, through some species memory I can’t possibly understand, a spider builds her web here. She catches an occasional small insect, and each night rebuilds her web. With temperatures becoming chillier and less prey about, she becomes weaker from lack of food. With less silk to spin, her web becomes less detailed until at last, the strands are a broken tangle of fine thread, a shadow of her once articulated masterpiece. And then she is gone.

I found myself watching her, in quiet awe of her determination to survive in spite of the reality of colder nights and imminent death. Some lesson in life for me, no doubt.

Perhaps a week or so after the spider’s web had disappeared, a seemingly small monster – from this side of the glass – cast a large shadow in the same window. A Chinese praying mantis. Where had he come from? Last year, a green praying mantis hung out all season on or around my office window, where we had several conversations and a few photo shoots. But I’d never seen the larger and brown Chinese mantis since I’ve lived here. He did his monster shadow for the morning, and then flew about my front and side porches in the awkward way they do, like a helicopter with a broken blade. No doubt he was scouting out a last meal as well. He, too, soon disappeared.

As we moved into late October, anticipating Halloween, temperatures dropped, moisture gathered and froze, and suffocated the clinging leaves, dropping trees like so many sticks.

It was unexpectedly beautiful, but deadly, and the sudden snowstorm rolled long nights over the state, especially in my area. Halloween evening arrived and bundled children with chilled parents came from other towns to ours; they still had no power, but happily, here we all had our porch lights on, tombstones eerily lit, and plenty of candy.

I took a drive around my area the following day, where the severity of the damage was evident. It looked like a war zone. Barricades and closed roads were everywhere, but so much worse was the devastation of the trees. Magnificent elders had split and cracked like twigs, graceful limbs lay on the ground. It was heartbreaking.

And then, another sign of determination – the leaf which will not fall.

Many of the taller shrubs and a fair amount of surrounding trees still have quite a bit of their leaves. This tree? Only one stubborn leaf remains. I wonder did he win a contest this year with some other now-fallen leaf who could finally hold on no longer. Or is he a tall scout, updating the lower shrubbery on how advances the autumn. Or perhaps he’s simply the last man standing.

And then this morning … a thick autumn fog. It couldn’t have looked more lovely, an invitation to be lost for just a little while. I could have stayed until the sun shone through. But such is not my life.

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