I had recently been gone out on a business trip to Las Vegas for my book and my workshops. When I say it I laugh because it sounds grander than it really was but hey most successful people start small and each small step is a grand victory. While I was off working with my business partner April my wife Keziah was back home with just her and the dog. The kid currently a few months into his college years leaves a pretty quiet house at times. When I returned home and after a good nights sleep I woke the next morning to take the wife to the airport. It was her turn to go away for work. Again, I laugh because hers is much more grand than mine but i'll say mine just as proudly, you know, pride and all. In any case, after dropping her off I get home and settled into the day. It is foggy outside and I venture to my porch where a spider web catches my eye. I sit and stare at it for awhile and just marvel at the precision these often feared little, sometimes not so little, guys are able to do. This is the web that caught my attention early that morning.
This web was pretty big as it covered a corner of my deck. It had been cold out lately and no one was really home so the spider that created this had time to work. Actually, they don't need long to work at all (thanks Discovery Channel). Even so, it was simply amazing to see it hanging there defying the wind and everything else trying to take it down with my backyard trees as the backdrop. As I sat it got me thinking about we humans. Within minutes I knew I would write a blog or, at the very least, a FB post about what came to mind. I snapped the picture for the moment I would share the thought which, as you can tell, I am doing now.
People are programmed to believe the world is designed for us that it is our domain to rule. If you are a follower of a God or Gods you have written words to some effect proclaiming man's ownership of this gift of a planet. If you look at Google maps of a city you will see all the plots, homes, locations and sections of our planet that we have claimed. Some have little plots, some have acres upon acres, some have ocean front while others are in the mountains. We range from corner to corner of this globe. How could we not believe the words taught to so many in Sunday school and other religious (and non-religious) teachings? We are the kings and queens of these third planet from the sun we call Earth. But then there
is this guy or gal (I didn't ask or check) that has a web across my deck and made me wonder. Does this little dude or dudette know we are the Kings and Queens of this world? Does it care? We are human after all and the world is ours.
Humans are smart. We have the ability to create, expand to different realms of our planet with planes that fly for hours upon hours, subs travel under water for months on end and our own expansion of, if you will, Middle Earth. No other animal can truly claim such a skill or a feat. Why wouldn't the teachings be true? We are the smartest. We are the most capable. We are the alpha animal of the planet. The top of the food chain. The apex predator.
Then there is this spider web. The damn spider web. The little 8-legged freak that has me thinking. Has me walking around my house having deep conversations about the power of man. Does the spider know? As I took the picture of the one just shared it didn't move. It didn't care I was there or even that I got that close to it. For the record I was within 2 inches of it with my cellphone. The only time it flinched was when I touched its web. Why isn't this thing and all the other animals bowing down to me like the animals did for Simba as Rafiki held the future King high above the pride land? The Zebra, the Buffalo and the other animals of prey all knew to bow to the King. Mufasa said as much when he explained to his sun that their domain stretches as far as the eye can see. Why is this spider oblivious to the ruler of the planet? The King of this world? Here I am thinking. Standing and knowing I need to understand it. You know what? That spider was in a bush. That has to be it. He was not paying attention. Spiders know we are the rulers of the planet. Don't they? I'll find another and we shall see.
I did find another one pretty close in fact. So close that if you look closely at the picture you can see the siding of my house. This guy is stretched from my kitchen window to the rail of my deck over the chairs my wife and I sit and have coffee while enjoying our backyard. No way this guy or gal (again I didn't ask or check) would ignore me. He definitely should understand that it isn't Simba who is King but it is me, us, humans that are, right?
Again, I get close enough that my breath moves the web yet the spider does not care. It doesn't move. It sits patiently waiting for food to get stuck in its amazing display of geometry. Damn spiders making me think. Here I am still in disbelief that this little creature doesn't seem to know that the planet was given to us to rule, to control and to, well by our reckoning, destroy. Hell didn't most of the animals have to die because man wasn't doing right and only 2 of each were saved? That is how important we are to the planet. If Zebras can bow before Simba why won't the spider bow? Why does it not worry? Spiders make you think. No, they make me think and question.
We people own our domains. We tear down and build up to our liking. The spider in question will die if I spray it with poison, smash it with a shoe or chop it with a giant sword (don't ask). I can kill it at will. Some spiders can return the favor mind you but that is not the point of today's message. I can tear down its web home and return to my chair and have my coffee. It will take no effort at all to do it. If I tear down the web but not kill the spider what will happen? Another web will be in its place. Why don't they understand their place? If I kill it another spider or something else will appear. They make you think. Damn them.
See this picture?
Someone made a pretty bench with a heart in it for the garden. Someone built a fuel or water can of some sort for work on the farm. A man or a woman created those and placed them out doors. Over time the bench had lost its luster and appeal to the owner and was left to sit where it once was proudly displayed. As the clock ticks and days pass the bench and the can are forgotten. Before long the grass, weeds, animals and whatever else begin to take over. The bench, once full of life and beauty, now has wood burrowing insects in it. The can, now a bit rusted has worms and other types of under ground crawlies under and in it. The creation of man is slowly disappearing in this one picture. That is what the spider web was telling me as I sat and stared at it. Humans are remarkable.
We humans defy the world. We force it to submit to our whims and might but at every turn the world fights back. The animals continue to infiltrate our greatest achievements with little regard to our claim of Apex Predator. The spider will set up shop in our homes, cars, yards and anywhere else. The mice, the birds, the bugs, the strays and every other animal will push forward. The trees, the grass, the weeds and nature will erase the great things we have done. That is what the spider taught me. I am not the biggest and most important thing on the planet. My belief in a God or Gods means nothing to the rest of the planets occupants. In fact, to them, I'm probably a parasite consuming and consuming until nothing is left. Damn spider! So here I sit looking in my back yard watching the world continue to move no matter what I do and I oddly find peace. With that peace we reach the point of this blog and the lesson I learned.
This last picture I took on my front porch step. My wife's yellow rose, the dying roses, our fence and a giant spider web. I don't kill this spider or destroy its web. Hell it kills other bugs that are more annoying than it. But I sit and I am thankful for the lesson. The lesson that I am nothing more than a small part of something bigger. Even if I have my God or Gods I will be, as Mustafa said, part of the "circle of life." The spider doesn't care that I am here yet I do all I can to keep it away from me, my family and my home. It is more important to me than I am to it. I fight everyday to control the weeds, the intrusive animals and dangerous insects from my little castle. In the Lion King movie Mustafa was killed by a stampede of Wildebeest who months earlier bowed at the heir apparent being held high above the pride by Rafiki. It may only be a cartoon but sometimes fiction is much more reality than reality. Spider webs teach life lessons. Yes, strange reality indeed.
Peace is in the knowledge that while I am important I am not so important that the world will stop for me. The world will continue. Mustafa died, Scar took over, Simba returned and the pride carried on. Life is the same. It will carry on. I am ok with that because I, like the spider, simply exist in all my essence. I am human. I can create. I can build. I can love beyond ailments and heartbreak. I can do the impossible and the possible simply by putting in the work. All this is true but I am also part of the earth. I am not over it I am with it. I do not reign over it. No one does. That is the lesson from the spider. We do not reign. And to be honest I don't need to. The world is a beautiful, mysterious and amazing place we should try to get to know it better. One day it will come knocking. Love the gift that is life!
Just A Thought Friends.