Spider Savvy: Small, select natural wonder


I trimmed some overgrown weeds at the back of our house. Although they bother my wrists, I chose my manual hand trimmers because they are quiet compared to my electric trimmers. Although they take longer, they allow me to stick both hands in and give more flexibility in deciding which clumps of growth to crop.
As I worked, I noticed a spider on the once-white, now-badly-in-need-of-paint trim strip beside our sliding glass door. “She” was pulling a dead bug as big as her own body with her as she climbed toward the top. Although the heft of her light green prey hung, gravity side down in front of her, she managed to hold the huge load and make her ascent. Her maneuvers were hesitant; she angled to one side, then the other. It was going to take her a long time at that rate.
On a whim, I picked up a sturdy looking leaf and held it up to her legs, deciding I would lift her to the top where there were crevices in the weathered, mitered corners of the trim for her to hide and table her load. She rejected my advance, pulling her legs away from my leaf and turning another direction. I persisted, and she dropped to the ground, began groping about in the grass with the legs that weren’t still holding her big bundle, and, quickly re-orienting herself, began another attempt to ascend the wooden trim of the door.
I sat back, spellbound, on one bench of our picnic table. Not only had I not helped her, but I completely set her back and shook her up in the process. Who did I think I was that I should assume to know what she was about and I could do any better than she could with her business?
I was ashamed as I sat reverently and watched her, green carcass in tow, repeat the climb that I so foolishly interfered with. Amazed at her determination, great strength, and tenacity, I marveled at this tiny life force with qualities that, with my pampered ways, I seldom need to muster.
With thoughts of hundreds of her eggs hatching around my house, her main goal in life was offensive to me, yet I could never do away with her. Her little black body adorned with a tiny, white spot was efficient and purposeful, as with all the natural world, leaving me sitting in awe, wishing I understood her better and, perhaps, could be more like her.
In no time, she’d gone about as high as when I spotted her. We were two moms with a vastly different perspective on the world, but our interruption in each other’s lives this afternoon would stick with me – my reminder that we each have our place.


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