Simple Life Lessons from a Spider

I never expected to learn life lessons from a spider.

Will you walk into my parlour?

Some people don’t like spiders. That might be an understatement. I have a highly educated, logical friend who becomes paralyzed by fear if a spider shares her space. I don’t mind them in the least. I think they are hardworking and purposeful creatures. Industrious. Unless, one happens to be crawling across my face or dangling from my hair. Then I don’t appreciate them as much. I certainly didn’t anticipate learning life lessons from a spider.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider?

For most of the summer I’ve had a lovely, large brown spider living in the drivers side mirror of my car. Based on my limited research, it’s likely a Common Orbweaver (AKA European Garden spider). Orbweaver sounds cooler. I’ve enjoyed watching it dance as it weaved it’s web. Anchoring its home with long strands to the car door.

The Cross or Common Orbweaver (AKA European Garden Spider)

I named it Esmerelda. I wasn’t sure if it was female. I’m no expert on sexing arachnids. There’s probably someone who is but I’ve yet to meet them. That job sounds like a trip! Anyway, Esmerelda has been my 8-legged ride or die this summer. I’ve observed her weaving and repairing her web after highway trips. I loved seeing her scramble to safety, tucking into the corner of the mirror, when driving speed increased.

If you want to live and thrive, let the spider run alive-Quaker Proverb

There are, what I can only assume, digestive juices and/or spider poo running down the mirror from her successful hunting and meals. I know many of you are thinking, “Ew! Gross! Destroy! Weirdo!” But honestly, she’s been a comforting presence as I zip around here and there. Demonstrating that outside influences may damage her hard work but she’s fully capable of fixing it herself.

“Life is a web be a spider here, making your own ways to your goal.”-Kannu

One bright morning, I stepped outside. The sun lit the dew on her perfect web. It sparkled like diamonds as she dramatically posed center-web. It was stunning. Something the crappy camera on my phone would do no justice. Instead of trying to capture a picture, I admired Esmerelda’s beautiful artwork and carefully got in my car as not to disturb her splendor. I was cautious not to draw attention to her as my youngest son is fearful of spiders. I didn’t want anyone to intentionally destroy her home. She was like my secret buddy. Until today.

Girl, who does your lashes?

I had just hit the highway and was getting up to speed. Esmerelda had ventured out to the far corner of her web. She was clinging to a support strand that wasn’t tethered securely to the side of the car. One second she was there, riding the wind current on her iridescent thread. The next, she was gone.

It’s just a spider…

I pulled over to the side of the road and cried for her. I Charlotte’s Web-style wept. Think Bambi’s mother. Old Yeller. Atreyu and Artax in the Swamps of Sadness. Yep, that was me. Mourning a spider named Esmerelda. Weird, right? Actually, I don’t think so. I don’t find it strange to grieve the loss of life. No matter how small, creepy or seemingly insignificant. She mattered to me.

She brought me joy during a difficult time in my personal life. She showed me beauty when I was having a hard time finding any. I watched her grow, build and repair. She demonstrated resilience and perseverance. I could easily have killed her at the beginning of summer. She was causing me no harm. Plus, I would have missed her fearless acrobatics and the surprising solace her secret existence granted.

She was a gift. Yes, a spider was a gift to me.

“The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.”-William Blake

Speaking of gifts. When I got home, I grabbed a cloth to finally clean the spider schmutz off the mirror. Guess what I found wedged in a dark crevice of the mirror? A perfect cluster of eggs, wrapped in a silky sac. Now that’s some E.B. White next level shit. My heart leapt. An unknowing final act of loving kindness. A life lesson. From a spider.

Oh, What a Tangled Web We Weave

I fully realize this post is neither organizing nor advance planning related. I hope that you’ll grant me some leeway with my writing. I’m human. It’s been a hellish two weeks involving an ill parent, multiple hospital visits, misdiagnoses and even a Covid test and required isolation. Thank you for giving me a platform to sort it out. This piece was for me. And, Esmerelda.

Yours in All Things Sorted,


10 thoughts on “Simple Life Lessons from a Spider”

  1. Kelly, I honestly can’t love this enough. I felt every single word of this. Thank you for sharing this and reminding us the beauty that exists when we chose to see it. You are a gem, my friend. A pure and rare gem. Xo

  2. Hey Kelly, she may have survived it. There’s a physics thing about how things that are small and light are less vulnerable to gravity than larger beasts – for example, elephants can’t jump. Spiders on the other hand, can jump many times higher than their own height, and land safely afterwards. Spiders travel via the wind, on silken parachutes that get wrecked by branches and high winds. Their eight legs give them the ability to grasp at highly unlikely footholds. Then there’s the aerodynamics of the vehicle in motion – in which direction would the velocity of the draft of the car send her? Yes, there’s a risk that she landed on the tarmac, injured and that the next vehicle crushed her. There’s also the possibility that she flew to the grassy verge and landed safely. That’s what I’d like to think happened.

  3. What a thoughtful post Kelly! It is true that the seemingly small things, or creatures, in life can make us feel grounded when having a tough time and more connected to everything around us. I love how touching this story is–spiders can be beautiful creatures after all. I also love that I have a friend who sees the beauty in the ‘small’ things and isn’t afraid to share it. Keep writing from the heart!


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