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THE SPIDER THAT GOT IT AND GOT AWAY
My encounter with the cockroach reminds me about my encounter with another spider last year. I am not afraid of them, unlike a friend of mine who had to have therapy for it, which didn’t help. I even love them, for they are, like me, weavers and spinners. I have a deep respect for them.
But in our home in the Kullu valley there is a variety that gets huge. Spread out your hand and imagine your fingers extended another inch, and you have its size. They are black and when you see one, it does instill a certain fear and horror though I am told by locals that they are harmless.
Once when I walked into the bedroom there was one, sitting smack in the middle of my pillow, like a big black flower. Now, though I respect them as a metaphor, this I could not tolerate so I screamed for Payson to help. He came up from his studio grumblingly (he was in the middle of something) and threw a towel on it to catch and release it outside the window. But he must have grasped it too hard, so its yellow juice blood splattered on the side of the bed. I felt really sorry for it, as did Payson.
But then one day while Payson was away hiking, I awoke to another huge one in the room, sitting without stirring (spiders know how to do that) on the wall near the window like a lovely flower, except, of course, it was a spider, and too close and too big for comfort. I was paralyzed with fear for a long time, perhaps ten minutes, approaching it with a towel, then returning and standing still. I had drawn aside the curtains and opened the window before approaching it with a towel, but though I went to grasp it many times, I always withdrew with dread. The paralysis was caused by two conflicting thoughts and emotions (emotion precedes thought but at some time they become inseparable): One voice said, be brave, courageous, overcome your fears, go on, do it. The other voice wondered in its (what I thought was) cowardice whether it wouldn’t just go away if I ignored it, re-hide in one of the crevices in the room. But even as I so wondered I knew that this option would not produce ease and peace of mind.
As I stood there the spider stirred and aroused the old fear. What if it moves away, and what if, oh horror (and this is the fear) it moves towards me, jumps on me, latches itself to my face, my breast, my bare skin, etc, etc. But it moved away in that quick and stealthy way that they have, and I couldn’t see him, and I breathed a sigh of relief, sort of, till I saw that he had moved behind Payson’s marvelous sculpture of Buddha, all curled up at its base. I removed Buddha’s head, then the body, and tried once more to approach and remove it, when it deftly moved towards the open window and out it went.
I shut the window, amazed at the turn of events. He was a sentient creature entirely cognizant of my consciousness. There was a mind-link with it. I didn’t want to hurt it but nor did I want it to bite me. He didn’t want to harm or be killed either, simply to live and be in peace. He took refuse in the pedestal of the Buddha, as have I, many times. He read my thoughts and escaped.
I didn’t have to be ‘brave,’ grab him and put him out, with all the consequent ego stroking at having been ‘courageous.’ All I did was have the presence of mind to open the window and the solution presented itself to both of us.
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