Each morning for the past week or so, I look at the windows. I check the bathroom window, the bedroom window, anywhere I may catch a glimpse. I’m looking for our spiders. The ones who, last year, were committed to hemming us in, wrapping us up in their silken beauty.
Our windows are empty.
Our windows are empty and I am deflated. Instead of these painstakingly geometric works of art, I see only cobwebs. Junky and dust-like, they only serve to remind me of all the work there is to do, still.
After looking and hoping, I give myself over to the disappointment. My head is lowered, studying nothing on the ground, when I nearly walk straight into a web. It’s not covering our windows this year, but instead stretches widely across our front porch. Each bay of the porch, from baluster to baluster, displays the diligent work of these spiders. In the morning rush of getting out the door to wait for the school bus I stop abruptly in my tracks, holding the kids back, but they have already seen. Our eyes widen at the delicate precision of these webs – there are at least four of them. Last year’s spiders hemmed us in with their tight and exacting weaving, but this year on the front porch these spiders’ webs are expansive. The threads are almost invisible until the sun plays on them, and resting on each tight center is a fat, black spider.
These are not dusty cob webs.
After our silent admiration, and then our vocal oohing and aahing , we march down the stairs, continue on with routine. A hand slides down the railing, without thought or care. It knocks loose the anchor and just that quickly a web is torn apart. We suck our breaths in tight with the realization, and a hush falls over us. Tendrils of the web float out with the breeze, weightless in the air. It was an accident, this destruction. I anticipate tears from any one of us, but I am wrong. No one cries.
That evening, I’m reading aloud on the couch with the Griffin and Renee, trying to corral the energy of overtired bodies and minds. I trip over my words as my eye is drawn to the movement I see out the front window. From my place on the couch, facing out into the world, I can see the busy movement of the spider, the one whose web was knocked down early this morning. His black silhouette looks like a paper cut-out except that it is moving so fast. Quick and deliberate, but not hasty and worried. I continue the story, leaning on my memory of a book I’ve read countless times, but my eyes don’t leave the spider. A selfish thought enters my mind – I don’t want to share this moment. But then I remember the morning, the oohing and aahing, how quickly it all disappeared. I show them. We stay on the couch, watching the spider rebuild.