When the Facebook memory of these pictures popped up today, it caught me in a mindful moment, catching the spirit of much in my life. So here it is again, with a bit of editing. Apologies to those of you who think the sight of a spider is grounds for burning the house down instead!
Last night I had the joy of capturing this beauty weave her spectacular web. Here she is with the web well underway.
I had thought to wake up this morning and capture the completed marvel with the dew. Instead, I got onto the porch just in time to watch her finish eating the last of the web. I’d heard about this before, but I’d never seen it. Then again, maybe I’d just never noticed.
Afterward, she retired to a tiny corner of the window frame, to rest from her night of labors.
Now, I find myself reflecting on life from her perspective. How like a night-shift version of my everyday labors she seems. Wake, check the environment, weave the web. Wait. Work. Bring home food for the table. Risk taking on something too big, something that takes apart what has been so carefully constructed. At the end of the day, take it all down. Tomorrow, start again.
Her work is manual labor; mine is mostly mental. Her life depends on her labor; the connection between my work and survival – for me and my family – is more tangential. Her webs are literal; mine, metaphorical.
But in the end, are we very different? Yes, I think, and no.
She has no “attitude” about her work, or none that we can understand. No contemplating what it all “means.” Her work is programmed into her very DNA; she is perfectly crafted to do exactly what she needs to do, no more, and no less.
Me, I have a choice, or at least so it seems from inside my head.
How will I relate to this daily web-weaving? I could lament on how boring and futile this endless cycle seems, at how insignificant I am. I could poke cynical fun, recognizing how like the movie Ground Hog’s Day my life can become.
Or I could marvel. Does the spider think of itself as beautiful? Does the spider realize how much I admire her, how much she taught me, and the members of my family, about her nature? No – the spider does what the spider does. And yet that makes her no less spectacular, does it?
So why do I not marvel at myself – why do we all not marvel at ourselves?
Like the spider, our world is full of both opportunity and danger. Our world is full of those who will help us, those who will feed us, those who would eat us, and those who would mindlessly destroy what we have built.
Unlike the spider, we are both blessed and cursed with a choice about the meaning we make of our life. You and I have a choice, today, right now. We can lament our lot in life, or we can take it for granted. We can lord our bounty over others, or we can share it, recognizing that our riches are just as fleeting as the spider’s web.
If we are willing to take the leap, we can relish the fact that we get to wake up every day to a glorious universe, and do the work we were meant to do, the purpose that calls to us.
I wonder which I will choose today? Which will you choose?
Dr. Les Kertay