This week was a garden week. It’s a new routine. The kids work on their schoolwork in the morning, and after lunch we work in the garden together. We’ve trimmed and repotted most of the succulents. I’ve moved my grumpy aloe into a bigger container and sunnier spot. We weeded the garden and planted seeds. The outdoor furniture got a good spray down, and the patio a good sweeping.
Even the houseplants got the treatment. I trimmed them back and am trying to propagate them into other rooms of the house.
After weeks of cold, clouds, and rain, it’s good to be out in the sunshine. We still have cold and damp mornings. I had almost stepped on a bee near the back door. It was too cold for her to be out of the hive. I got a stick and she clung to it like a baby clinging to a thumb. I moved her to an unused flower pot on the sunnier side of the house and put a little empty container in there for shelter in case it started raining again. I know that bees that fly outside of their hives are the ones that are older and near the end of their lives anyway, but still I hoped that when she warmed up she would make it back to her hive.
Some of the succulents went into an existing pot at the front of the house. As I was planting there I noticed a small pile of forgotten wood logs which needed to go to the wood pile at the back the garage. As I started to move them, a large black spider popped out and looked at me. Black and brown widows are common in this area. I had learned to spot their disorganized webs, and round egg sacs. I hadn’t looked before moving the wood. I kept my distance, and tried to see if I could spot the red hourglass on the underside of her abdomen.
She was bold, not running away as I tried to angle the log to see underneath her. Her front two legs raised to defend herself, but I couldn’t see if there was a mark. When I put down the log, she walked toward me and the front door. I couldn’t take any chances. I grabbed a nearby cardboard box, got her on it, tossed the box toward the bushes, and sprayed it with the hose.
I wasn’t trying to kill her, but just get her to move into the bushes and off the front porch.
Spiders fascinate me. I can stare at them for hours if they are at a safe distance in their web. They are smart. Their eyes and ways of moving are so unlike our own. I admire their webs and artistry. Maybe I would not have bothered so much if it was any other spider, but I cannot permit a potential black widow that close to the front door. Not when my children or their friends could be curious enough to pick up a log from the pile without looking closely, as I had done.
As I was putting away the hose, I felt ashamed that I had taken the spider’s home away from her so abruptly. One moment she had a sweet, dry, and cozy spot on the porch, and the next she was drenched in the bushes and her wood pile gone. I was concerned that she would not find another place to live that was as nice.
Maybe because it was Easter Sunday, I thought about forgiveness and if a Spider can forgive.
If everything in Creation has Spirit and Agency, does that include the ability to forgive? Since forgiveness is linked to transgression, it only comes into play when the rules are broken. Are the rules for humans and spiders the same? What did this incident look like from the Spider’s point of view? What are the rules of the garden?
These questions swirling, I turned to the cards to make some sense of them. I asked them to tell me about the spider at the front door and what I needed to know about that experience.
There she was, right near center of the spread. This card is the only one of the 52 cards in the deck that has a spider depicted.
Dry your tears. You left the Spider high and dry, but it wasn’t a great place to begin with for her to drop anchor. Remember that we are all connected. Think about this as you work in your garden.
I pulled a card for What to Do. – 7. Pure Nature. Smell the red rose bud.
That night I prayed for the spider. I prayed that she finds a place to thrive away from people that is as nice as the woodpile had been.
The next day I still had the cards on my mind, and remembered that the red rose bush is just starting to bloom. It hasn’t bloomed in years past because the hibiscus was too large and took its sunlight. I went outside to smell the rosebuds and admire the dark red blooms so like the card I had pulled the night before.
I saw the unused flower pot and remembered the cold bee that I moved there. Curious to see if it was still there, I looked into the plastic pot and saw this.
She’s not the same spider that I had evicted from the front of the house that I disturbed having a meal. It’s a sign all the same. The rules of the garden are different. I’d best be learning them this season.