Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Lessons from a Spider

Awareness. Over the course of this year I intend to focus on awareness. Not the level of being where you are familiar with the existence of something outside of yourself, but an intimate consciousness of how you are connected to everything else.

I can realize intellectually that my daily actions affect the world around me, but not until that knowledge becomes innate, not until I can look at every pen on my desk, every morsel on my plate, and every bottle on the shelf as an extension of myself, will I truly change my behavior.

The time has come to question our food, our daily actions and the economic systems of the late-20th century. The earth can not afford our excesses any longer and neither can we.

But true awareness is difficult when there is so much surrounding us, bombarding our senses on a daily basis. I can’t begin to count the number of things on my desk, little alone in my office. Living in the moment, being responsible for your actions can be impossible when your mind and your life is cluttered with so many things.

I thought I was focused on the world around me while I was cutting some flowers yesterday. Having put the roses and geraniums into a vase, I casually noticed a dried leaf on the geranium. When I pulled it off and it seemed to stick, I quickly realized there was spider web involved.

At that point I stopped to really look. A beige egg sac was stuck to my garden glove. Without a second thought I took it back outside and transferred it to the geranium. If I had really been paying attention, I wouldn’t have been startled when I came back to find a quarter-sized green lynx spider anxiously looking for her egg sac.

My thoughts were elsewhere as I snipped the stalks of geranium and I had destroyed the carefully constructed nursery of this lovely spider.

I’ve never seen a green lynx spider in my yard before. Honestly, she was much larger than I expected. The green lynx spider is a new species to add to my growing backyard biodiversity list. (trapdoor spiders, other spiders)

I returned the mother spider to the geranium and put her beside the egg sac. It didn’t take her too many minutes to recover from the disaster and start reattaching her precious offspring to the plant.

There couldn’t be a better lesson about awareness. The green lynx spider is preying on insects in my garden. Her webbing is providing building materials for the hummingbirds who are beginning to look for nest sites. This spider has taken up residence because our yard is a pesticide free zone with native plants that attract native insects. Everything was balancing out just fine until I blundered along not paying attention. Fortunately, like most of the natural world, she seems fairly resilient. The egg sac has been reattached and she has renewed her vigilant position as guardian.

Focusing on Green Holiday Actions for the thirty-one days of December, reinforced for me the variety of active choices we can all make toward living wiser on the land. I intend to offer ideas that have worked for me and my family to make a positive change toward living a greener life. Each month I will offer up a life-changing practice that I am attempting. It should be a year of discovery and, hopefully, increased awareness.

My yard is blessed with spiders weaving intricate futures, may I learn from their industry.

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