Eight Legs

“Look,” said my friend Valik. “There’s a spider on that thing.” I looked where his gaze was pointing and saw my anemometer. I have a little weather station and had installed the small wind gauge on a post on my porch. I looked at the three little cups as they swung their six inch circle slowly, reacting to the gentle breath of breeze. A spider had erected a single strand of web between two of the cups and was sitting on it, riding around in a circle. An arachnid merry go round. 

Valik and I had been chatting, he’d asked about my cancer. In spite of having known him for going on a decade, I’d never had the conversation with him about being sick. I’ve had the conversation countless times, but somehow it had passed by my friend. I kept looking at the spider and wishing the wind would pick up just a little and give the spider a real ride. Not a violent one that would eventually have centrifugal force toss it off, just fast enough to be like a merry go round that carried children, lovers and the occasional someone reminiscing about days gone by. I bore the thing no malice, although spiders are on my kill on sight list usually. Thou shalt not suffer a spider to live.

But this little guy seemed to mean something other than the horriffic nightmare image that spiders usually make me think of. As I looked at the little thing whose world was slowly rotating I thought that it wasn’t much different than all of us. Our world rotates too, yet not in a way that we can easily observe. We don’t see other spatial bodies whizzing by, blurred by speed and the slowness of our eyes. I wondered of the spider knew that its little world was rotating. It certainly showed no anxious behavior. It traveled from one cup to another and back again, or paused to sit on the cabling between the cups it had constructed, all the while appearing completely nonplussed.

I also thought that I was looking at a metaphor of my own existence. Going repeatedly over the same ground again and again while getting nowhere. Spending my days in a game that I moved from minute to minute, passing my time as I await the inevitable coming of my closing credits. Around and around the clock, I ride the sweep second hand much the same as the spider was riding the cups of the anemometer. As I watched it, I felt an odd kinship; odd because usually when I see a spider I immediately think to kill it. But in this case, I equated the little being with my own meager and unproductive existence and its death was not an imperative this time. Rather, I enjoyed watching it move in its unbusy way and going around and around.

My friend and I chatted now about little helicopters and the quadcopter drones I fly. We looked out at the yard from my back porch and talked about how a couple hundred feet of alitutde could change the perspective of one’s neighborhood. Looking down on it, seeing the houses of the neighborhood and the various yards looking much more interesting than at ground level. I peeked again at the spider and though how different the neighborhood would look from its tiny perspective, especially seen at ground level. I wondered if it was seeing similar differences from its high perspective. In proportion to its size, it had to be a few hundred spider feet above the ground.

But it was depressing to find myself so easily compared to an insect traveling in a lazy circle. The truth of it, was, undeniable though. My life is indeed one of waiting for the inevitable and the things I do don’t accomplish much. They keep me entertained to a degree, but a small one at that. Of course, in my opinion, much more active lives are even less productive than mine and I still have a strong curiosity about many things. I suspect I’ll be trying to educate myself right up to the point that everything fades to black. Even a spider has the ability to be a muse, and perhaps it’s not a very erudite set of thoughts, the little bastard got me thinking. 

I looked back at the anemometer and watched the spider take another orbit. The breeze amplified and quite suddenly there was no spider, only a wisp of silken web trailing a wind cup.