Yesterday, I killed a spider in the upstairs bathroom. It had spun a web between the medicine cabinet and a corner, the walls papered in an antique map of the world. I have no idea what kind it was or how it found its way into my home. It was just there, patient in a centered existence, waiting for food to fly by.
I squashed it with a strand of toilet paper gripped between my thumb and forefinger. I felt its body flatten, succumb. Then, I dropped it in the clear toilet water and left it floating on the surface rolled in fetal spider form. I didn’t think about it or my actions. I didn’t flush, either. My only passing thought was about Doug and his allergic reactions to spider bites.
This morning, I listened to country singer Alison Krause sing Jubilee. I replayed that song over twenty times, listened in tears, listened in pain, just listened until the words flowed through my bloodstream. I cried over Wild Ones and what the National officers did to me. I cried over the lose of friendships. I cried over the loss of my dreams. I cried over perceived betrayals by people I categorized as family, people I cared and fought for in the same intense way I do for my biological family. I played that tune for over two hours.
Later, as I towel-dried my hair while bent at the waist, it occurred to me that I’m no different than the people I condemn for destroying and not protecting the Niagara Gorge Rim. I condemned them for not understanding the value of ecological protection, the revitalization benefits that could be gained ecologically, economically, socially, and atheistically. I judged them, found them wanting, viewed them as uninformed and ignorant of a greater sense: Nature. Purpose. Place. Biological Integrity. The Bigger Picture. And, what those words mean. I pulled the towel off my tousled hair, added a styling, straightening mousse, and saw myself, a reflection in the mirror.
I could have protected the spider. I didn’t. I could have transplanted it, could have made a different choice, could have recognized the spider’s value and moved it outside. I didn’t. I regret my arrogance, my actions. I am flushed at my ignorance, my self-importance.