Not too long ago, at the urging of my dear friend Kasey, I stopped killing spiders. She told me that there's some special connection between writers and spiders, and since I believe what Kasey tells me, I don't want to kill them anymore. When I find them in the house now, I try to take them outside without hurting them.
Today, when I opened the door to go outside and one dropped from the frame in front of me, dangling from its web, I hesitated, then took off my shoe, and rather than using it to smash her, I gently scooped her up and guided her onto the stoop outside.
"It's hard, little mama, I know," I told her. "You're just trying to find someplace to make yourself a home, you and your babies. And here you are hanging on by a thread, getting pushed around by all these outside forces... the rain and the wind and then me. I know how you feel. Let's be gentle with each other, okay?"
God, do I know how she feels. Alone, hanging by a thread, trying to make sure the ones who depend on you are secure, even when you're not. And trying to make sure you look like you've got it under control, even when you don't.
I know how she feels.
I'm knitting away on my own little web. Like a mama spider. Spinning silk. So, if you see me dangling while I'm building... rebuilding... healing... be gentle with me, okay?
This inside-out work is hard. And everything I treasure depends on it.