Friday, October 17, 2008

Spun Into A Web

For the first time in my life, yesterday I was spun into a spider’s web. It was a rather odd sensation. I looked up from my computer and suddenly realized I was connected to the bookshelf and the nearby lampshade. And the odd thing is, it happened three times! Early in the morning, while I checked my email, my husband tried to walk past my chair and was quickly covered in web. As he swung his arms wildly I looked up from my computer, and I found myself connected to the furniture. We did a fairly thorough search and couldn’t find a spider, but were surprised by how quickly the web was spun—and it was spun again! About half an hour later, I returned to the chair to check my email. Again, my husband tried to walk past me. He was covered in web, and with no spider in sight.

The third time, I actually sensed that she was near, and that she was large. I had that shivery feeling, as if someone, or something, was watching me. I tried to ignore this feeling as I continued to check my email, but when I glanced up a few minutes later, I was, again, part of a large project involving silvery threads. This time, my husband found my captor, and she was a good-sized female orb weaver. She had long, spindly legs with stripes and a green body. My husband gently picked her up and carried her outside, then carefully shut the door—orb-weavers will return to the same spot and may need to be moved repeatedly.

Why save and move an orb-weaver, particularly this time of year when Texas is literally crawling with the little creatures? Mainly because I would never intentionally harm any of God’s little creatures, because the orb-weaver is magical, like Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web, and because the orb-weaver is beneficial, eating all kinds of destructive garden-munchers! Orb-weavers represent many things to spiritual people, including communication, creativity, and magic, and much of this lore spins off the fact that these creepy-looking creatures create the most stunningly beautiful works of art. Orb-weavers are the creatures that spin those amazingly complex creations stretching from house to tree to bush and back.

The family of orb-weavers includes over 2800 species of harmless, beneficial creatures. Their bite is painful and slightly toxic, like a watered-down version of a widow spider. Many orb-weavers spin their webs early in the morning to catch their breakfast. They will spin on just about anything, including windows, potted plants, computers and lampshades. Their webs remind me of the old, wooden wagon wheels with all the spokes connected. Last fall, in a Texas park on the shores of Lake Tawakoni a gigantic web attracting tourists and scientists from all over the world. At first, it was rumored that the web was created by orb-weavers, but the web was more like a silken sheathe, and the orb-weaver web is more like a wheel or mandala. They are easy to spot around my house because we have so many orb-weavers on the property. As I walk around the house in the morning I wave my arms before me to catch the webs before they cling to my face. Last year, I was gardening beneath a tree when I felt a tickle on my shoulder. I had moved an exceptionally large orb-weaver from the tree twice already because she kept connecting to my garden tools. The last time I moved her, I felt certain she would stay in the bush. Then I felt the tickle. “It’s a coincidence, and you’re imagining things,” I thought, but I looked anyway. Sure enough, the orb-weaver had returned, and she was sitting on my shoulder this time, watching me.

I feel blessed to have been spun into the web of an orb-weaver, as if she was trying to communicate with me somehow, to creatively inspire me. I don’t think my cat feels quite the same way. He snuck out a few minutes ago and when my husband reached down for him, the cat turned and walked right into yet another giant orb-weaver web. He’s still shaking his head and spitting.

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