Friday, November 11, 2011

Trusting in Spider Webs

While Asherel rode, my job at the barn was to sweep and knock down cobwebs. Both are jobs that are self sustaining. No cobweb knocker will ever be out of work. No sooner does one web come down than the spider is instantly hopping to a more distant rafter and spinning again. And don't think that killing the spider on the web will help. I once read that no matter where you are at any time, there is a spider within 3 feet of you. They send in new recruits faster than you can hyperventilate from this disturbing fact.

And then job number two: sweeping the hay aisles where the hay is stored and the goats hang out. No sooner do I sweep a section clean than a goat walks over with innocent eyes and re-poops the aisle. And I used to think vacuuming my house was a never ending task! It is not nearly as daunting as keeping a barn full of creatures clean, however.

The cobweb knocking was the hardest task for another reason. Right after riding lesson, I had a hair appointment. Since half the fun of a haircut is having someone else wash my hair, I didn't intend to wash it after working at the barn. But I was pretty sure that the hairdresser was going to find a spider lodged in my hair. So I would knock a spider web and then leap to the side as the dislodged dust and debris came tumbling down. It was exhausting work, all that dancing under the cobwebs.

Afterwards, I settled happily in the hairdresser's chair.
"Wow, your hair is getting long!"
"Yes, I decided I will grow it out."
"But you just got it cut short two months ago. Are you sure?"
"Yes, I am very wishy washy. It is my prerogative. I am the kind of client you hairdressers hate, huh?"
I was making a joke but she didn't laugh. Wait til she finds a spider in my hair, I thought, then she will be laughing even less.

Do you know that in proportion to their weight, spiders eat the equivalent in bugs, as us eating 12,400,000 people per day? They consume nearly 2 billion pounds of bug food per day! Imagine if there were no spiders. There would be 2 billion more pounds of bugs lurking on our planet. Spiders are perhaps one of the most maligned creatures on the planet. It did not escape me the incongruity of knocking down all those spider webs in the barn while cans of horsefly spray stood on the nearby shelf. And I began to feel a little sorry for the spiders of the world. They usually don't build the webs right in your face. They try to find a high unobtrusive place where the web won't bother anyone but the bugs. And the web isn't made of concrete. It is fragile and easily knocked down. It is their kitchen and stove, all in one tenuous collection of thread. Their entire culinary system depends on those webs that I was so callously sweeping away.
Silly spiders, trusting in so flimsy a system!
And I thought about how similarly tenuous the systems we humans rely upon are. Financial institutions the world over are beginning to implode, our own economy stinks, and people who thought their jobs were secure are suddenly facing unemployment. The health care "panacea" is causing people's insurance rates to skyrocket, and "quelle surprise", Iran is looking like it might want to develop nuclear weapons. At least the spiders can quickly rebuild their webs.
Perhaps our trust is in all the wrong things.

My haircut was over and I came out of the semi-trance I go in when someone else cares more about making me beautiful than I do.
"It looks great!" I said happily, "Did you find any spiders?"
The hairdresser raised an eyebrow and scurried away.

Job 8:
13 Such is the destiny of all who forget God;
   so perishes the hope of the godless.
14 What they trust in is fragile
   what they rely on is a spider’s web.
15 They lean on the web, but it gives way;
   they cling to it, but it does not hold.

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