While washing windows earlier this morning, a startling thought came to me. Spiders are the quintessential starving artists of the insect (arachnid) world. Instead of only being grossed out by the stack of fly carcuses and annoyed by their sticky webbing, I found myself also feeling inspired and strangely sympathetic to the little creepy crawlies.

First, let me preface by saying that in general, spiders have not been on my favorites list. Up until recently, their presence in pretty much any setting would trigger immediate strategizing on how to remove them or myself from the environment with as little interaction as possible. They’re too unpredictable and I’ve had several experiences growing up of balancing myself precariously on a chair or counter top, with a shoe or wad of tissues in hand, staring down a bold spider that just as I gathered the nerve to approach, decides to drop to God-knows-where. This of course, provoked chaotic freak outs for my sister and I, screaming and obsessively spider checking each other’s hair and clothing for signs of a covert attack. Then came the movie ‘Arachnophobia’ in the 90s, that just seemed to confirm what we knew all along…spiders are organized and are coming for us. This movie singlehandedly led to me intentionally leaving squashed spiders on the walls and ceilings, to advise the others from the Arachnid crew that I meant business and should not be underestimated…I think you get the gist of what I’m saying. It’s been far from a love affair.

Arachnophobia (1990) Directed by Frank Marshall produced by Walt Disney Studios’ Hollywood Pictures / Amblin Entertainment

Today however, I felt a strange mixed bag of emotions when I swiftly wiped away a spider web in the window frame. Besides the usual revulsion, I felt some unexpected regret at the thought that I had just destroyed hours of work and a one of a kind creation made solely for the intention of trapping a delicious dinner. Already their webs are temporary installations at best, with the unpredictability of the elements and the variety of local birds to contend with. The poor little critters are embodying the spirit of the expression, ‘to sing for one’s supper’. I was mortified while taking silent inventory of the brutal number of their creations that I have single-handedly taken down over the years, and some I have to admit, with a triumphant attitude of glee.

I realized that my karma was not in good shape in this area, so today, I apologized solemnly to the hairy wolf spider for my destructiveness and helped him to make his way outside, with encouraging swats of the cleaning rag, to find a safer, quieter area for his next work of art. From now on, I vowed to no longer be so quick to tear down what I have dismissed as a nuisance, and to have a little more respect for the life’s work of so many little eight legged creatures, and for the artists themselves as well. If someone were to be so cruel to me and my artwork, I might want to crawl in their ear or nose at night while they slept as well. But I digress.

the lily and rose

featured photo by: Olivier Darbonville/

You may also like...