Hola! How are you this morning? It’s been a pleasure to wake up the past few days to relatively warm weather after that terrific ice and snow storm we endured last week. Yikes. It was so cold, way down into the teens, that it was hard to function. Despite all the heaters cranking, one afternoon I was so cold I turned on the oven and opened the door a tidge while I did the dishes, just to warm up extra.
I do not like being cold. And I don’t like having to do jumping jacks to keep warm, but sometimes you just have to.
And while I’m dreaming of the desert, always, always, it wouldn’t have done me any good to dream of Redmond during that frigid week because it was even colder there than here. ZERO degrees one day. Deserts can get cold. Some deserts. Of course, when I checked Arizona temps they were in the 60s, rrr, lucky bastids.
But all is well now and my toes are warm.
Oh, I forgot to add that on the night that hell froze over, I was just about to fall asleep when I heard the loudest, eeriest groan and then a tremendous crack and THUD as the entire apartment complex shuddered. Scott was in the living room and I heard him run outside, where our neighbor Sheri told him that a huge limb had fallen from the fir right beside her patio. I saw it the next morning: it WAS huge, leaning against the upstairs balcony and fanned out across the yard. It’s amazing that it didn’t fall on the roof and do actual damage. The trees lose limbs and branches every time the wind blows here, but this was the worst by far. It’s still there and will be until the lawn people come and haul it away.
I’m not complaining, though. It’s a mess out there, everywhere, and people have far greater problems than we have. In fact, my son Van’s wife Megan’s cousin died during that week, when she and her husband went off the road because of black ice. Her husband is still in ICU, but will recover. It’s very sad. I couldn’t place her cousin when Megan told me, so I looked back at the wedding pictures, and there she was, wearing a red dress and carrying a polka-dotted parasol. In another picture, all you could see was the back of the parasol as she rested it on her shoulder, and a glimpse of her husband with his arm around her, pulling her close, during the ceremony. That picture made me sad, but also happy that they’d loved each other so deeply while they’d been together.
As you regular readers know, I am a person who looks for signs and deeper meanings, believes in synchronicity and divine appointments and mines dreams for their messages. I am unabashedly woo-woo.
So, the other day I went into the bathroom and lifted the toilet lid and there, on the seat, was a little smashed spider. She was about the size of a shelled sunflower seed. I like spiders. I’m cautious around them because of them being bitey and venomous, but I respect them and will go out of my way to rescue them if possible. But this guy was beyond rescuing, all curled up, so I went to swoop her into the toilet with a tissue.
To my shock, she suddenly sprang to life! Unfortunately, by that time, it was too late to save her. She didn’t quite land in the water, but hung by her web thread, which must have been attached to the rim of the toilet. I didn’t know what to do, didn’t quite know how I was going to get her out, so I bent down to peer at her more closely in hopes that an idea would come to me.
It was then that I noticed she had only half her legs. One whole entire side of her body was sans scribblers, so I made my decision, told her I was sorry but it was probably for the best anyway, blessed her little spirit and flushed. I felt genuine sorrow as I watched her swirl with the water as it eddied toward the drain, because, as I said, I like spiders, and also I wasn’t quite sure I’d decided right after all.
Apparently, she didn’t agree with me either, because as the water went down, she went up. Seriously. I watched her swoop herself back up to the rim, and I thought, By GUM this spider wants to live! So I’m going to help her! I nudged her onto a piece of paper and set her on the floor, where she scurried off under the book rack–a little lopsidedly due to being waterlogged, dizzy, possibly shell-shocked, and on account of her having only half her legs.
Two days later I was standing at my kitchen table working on my latest project, a papier-mache frame for a painting. I had been working on it for about an hour, cutting cardboard and taping and tearing newspaper strips, and was just about ready to mix up the goo. I walked away to get a bowl and came back to the table where, to my utter surprise and delight, I spied the SAME SPIDER crawling toward me on the ridge of my frame. There she was, miles and miles away from the bathroom floor where I’d left her, on the top of the kitchen table, on the top of the frame, which was resting on top of a tall rack. Walking toward me in her little lopsided way, grabbing onto the rim of my frame with only half her legs.
I gasped and laughed. Later I cried, but right then I was overwhelmed by surprise and pleasure. I said hello, then told her I was going to rescue her properly this time. I put her outside on the fresh, moist grass–out in nature, where a spider should live out its days–and spent the rest of the day marveling.
For quite awhile now, weeks and weeks, I’ve been increasingly depressed, feeling marginalized and voiceless and unable to share my truest self. Scott does his best, but we’re different, and while I can tell him anything, he isn’t riding the same wave so it’s hard for him to understand or contribute much to what I’m saying. It’s hard walking away from established belief systems to forge your own path, it just is. I’ve lost the affection and respect of a lot of people because of that, and while I wouldn’t do it differently, it still doesn’t feel so great.
That spider encouraged and inspired me. Severely handicapped, she still had an indomitable spirit and will to live. Not only that, she went out of her way (even considering any logical means of her getting there, it was still fucking miraculous) to give me a message. That she ended up on top of my artwork was absolutely significant to me. In many traditions, spiders represent perseverance, creativity, and the underworld of shadows. Shadows are what I paint–my own, which really means everybody’s… because they’re archetypal. This makes them very difficult to do; I get emotionally spent pretty easily because of it, and if I’m not vigilant, also depleted. The message of the spider was to keep it up, never give up, never surrender, never mind what I consider my handicaps to be.
Good old spider.
On a side note, I talked to my son Jesse over an hour last night on the phone and found out I’m not such a freak after all because he’s going through the same core issues as me, even if the details are different. It was so good to ride the same wave as someone else, to really talk fully and deeply and share some aha moments. Same thing when I got a letter from my friend Stevie. I’m filled up again. Warm toes, warm heart. Aahh.
Hope your weekend is great and restful and fun, whatever you need it to be. xo