I’m having a hard time putting my thoughts together tonight. Not because I’m feeling particularly angry or agitated, or sad, or happy, but because I’m just filled to overflowing with thoughts and feelings and they’re all tangled up right now.
It’s like being all ready to knit a beautiful sweater, and searching for the end of your new ball of yarn.
So I’m going to start by talking about spiders, since they have a way with weaving, and hope my threads untangle as we go.
Ever since Revel was born, I’ve been seeing spiders.
Always near him. Crawling on his carseat, crawling on his coat, or over him in his sleep. At home, at the mall, at grandma’s house, at the park.
Jumping spiders with their peering eyes, the american house spider, quick to play dead when frightened, daddy long legs, and a number of other tiny ones I don’t know the names of.
Not like an insane amount of spiders, and not like a creepy amount of spiders, just, maybe, one a day. Enough that I keep saying to people , “Do you find spiders crawling on you everyday?” Just to see if it’s something that happens to everyone.
And for several days while I was pregnant, belly round with unborn son, a large-ish spider of a pinkish hew made the most intricate of webs on our screen door each evening, and, mysteriously, disappeared, web and all, each morning.
Indigenous cultures around the world know things about spiders. That they help hold the world together, can mend, and make, and build. That they can create whole worlds from nothing, cities from the finest silk.
I’ve read that spiders are protectors. Of our spaces, of our homes, of our earth. That to kill one is bad luck, must be avoided at all costs.
When I see them around Revel I let them walk on by, or suggest an alternate route, over my outstretched hand.
I find myself watching them on their webs, sure-footed on their worlds made of whisps.
And I see that my words are webs too, spun from nothing,
strung from a corner here, to an edge over there, trying to soften the sharp angles of our world,
These words are a winding around and a weaving together,
A reconnecting, a regenerating, a rebelling,
Thank you spiders.
Thank you for listening,
Tonight’s guest post is actually a re-print of an interview with Martin Prechtel by Derrick Jensen, originally published in The Sun magazine. Please read it if you can find the time. There is so much in it that is useful to us as we find our sit spots and begin/continue the work of reconnecting to the land. Thank you Derrick and Martin, for your work in the world and for this excellent interview.
an excerpt from the interview:
To be at home in a place, to live in a place well, we first have to understand where we are; we’ve got to look at our surroundings.
Second, we’ve got to know our own histories. Third, we’ve got to feed our ancestors’ ghosts, so that the ghosts aren’t eating us or the people around us.
Lastly, we’ve got to begin to grieve.
Now, grief doesn’t mean sitting around weeping every day. Rather, grief means using the gifts you’ve been given by the spirits to make beauty. Grief that’s not expressed this way becomes a kind of toxic waste inside a person’s body, and inside the culture as a whole, until it has to be put in containers and shipped someplace, the way they ship radioactive waste to New Mexico.
This locked-up grief has to be metabolized. As a culture and as individuals, we must begin feeling our grief — that delicious, fantastic, eloquent medicine. Then we can start giving spiritual gifts to the land we live on, which might someday grant our grandchildren permission to live there.