The Itsy-Bitsy Spider

I saw a little black spider in the corner of the ceiling while in the shower this morning and even though I knew it would mean a slow, torturous death for the miniature monster… I also knew it that only one of us was going to survive this shower. It was either him or me. So naturally I chose me… and I drowned him.

Poor little guy. Here it is… finally, mercifully springtime and he crawls out of his tiny crevice either from wintering or simply because he was just born and he starts to build his first delicate web of the season… when all of the sudden some crabby bitch with a personal vendetta against all eight-legged creatures as well as the state of wakefulness in general has to come along and cut his life short.

And let me tell you that the shower isn’t exactly the easiest place to commit murder. Though it IS the cleanest. The problem with the shower is that said method of execution HAS to be what I like to call death by “splash drowning.” I call it “splash drowning” because one must repeatedly throw cups-full of water onto the offending beast and their fragile, new structure until they tumble from whence they came. 

Yes, death via splash drowning is far, far worse and deeply cruel compared to “direct drowning” in say, like… a sink or a toilet, because it is MUCH slower and the spider thinks for a bit that he actually has a chance of surviving this terrifying ordeal.

He’ll try to outrun the waves that continue to crash rhythmically upon him and he’ll do so successfully… for a bit… until, when out of sheer exhaustion, he’ll be spent. He’ll have nothing left and be forced to succumb to his fate, riding the river of death straight down the shower wall, across the floor of the tub… slipping anonymously and unceremoniously into his watery grave.

Now, you might ask: Did you, at any time, feel badly about torturing one of God’s creatures who was merely minding his own business, doing what he was designed to do by choosing your shower corner in which to innocently emerge from winter and spin his little web?

Well… I guess you could say that I did feel an itsy-bitsy amount of guilt and sadness as I watched him rushing helplessly “into the light”… until he got caught on one of the anti-slip treads on the bottom of the tub… and I gave him a swift, wet kick… right down the drain.

The Shorter Days

I walked across an empty parking lot and turned, startled at an unfamiliar sound. Propelled by a sudden crisp wind, a single brown leaf was scraping against the asphalt. I grasped the cold metal handle and went inside the store, anxious to get warm.

“I can’t believe it’s dark already.” I said to the owner pointing in the direction of the navy sky… dotted with stars. “I know,” he replied, “before we know it, winter will be fully upon us.”

I shuddered at the thought. In winter it seems I never see the light of day. I spend the whole of my available daylight hours beneath artificial flourescent light… in front of the glow of the computer… my back to the window.

It’s hard to believe that winter is almost here again. Most of the leaves have dropped and curled at the bases of the trees while barren branches scratch at a steely sky threatening to slash it open at any time. Once torn, the ice and snow that has been patiently waiting , weighing heavily on the topside of the clouds… will fall mercilessly to the ground, coating everything in crystal.

I’ve heard it said that when spring arrives in the northern states, one realizes that people really do live here. For it is not uncommon to go months during the season without ever seeing your neighbors. People often grow discouraged this time of year as they find themselves pining for those not-long-ago endless days of summer.

On winter’s days the light is scarce. In the mornings, it is dark outside. The streets are silent, except for the occasional commuter traffic and the low roar of a lumbering school bus. There are no voices. No children shouting or laughing. By early evening, it is dark once again and the streets are quieter than ever before. It’s as though the entire world has retreated indoors while the cold and the darkness stake their claim.

Take heart my friends who find themselves despising this time of year when the days grow shorter. We oft forget this meteorological technicality, but actually it is during winter when things begin to turn back the other way! And even in the midst of the gathering darkness—if you take the time to notice—there are signs of life. Houses lit from within by the warm glow of lamp or firelight serve as beacons in the thick, black night.

Their illumination is evidence that we are merely hybernating, and once again we’ll carry on into the spring. The days will grow longer, the ground will thaw and before we know it… tender green shoots will shove their way up through the soil, pushing the snow aside.

“And everything that’s new, has bravely surfaced, teaching us to breathe. For what was frozen through, is newly purposed, turning all things green.” ~ Nichole Nordeman

While The Leaves Are Still Green

After eleven years in the desert, one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about coming home to Ohio is seeing all of the green. Don’t get me wrong, the desert has it’s own distinct beauty with wide open skies fringed with colorful mountains, and long, long welcoming stretches of road that unfold and roll out in front of you wherever you turn your wheels… But the desert earth is brown. This time of year in Northeastern Ohio, it seems like the whole landscape has been draped in varying shades of green velvet and I can’t seem to take my eyes off of it. It captivates me! It is like I am seeing it for the very first time. I grew up with it all around me, but I never really SAW it until I went away.

For a few weeks I have been intending to grab the camera early on a Saturday morning and take some photos of the lush green that has enveloped everything… The farm fields, the rolling hillsides, the thick and towering trees, the mossy embankments and the rows upon rows of golden-tassled corn. There is something amazing about the early morning sunlight illuminating a bright green leaf making it look as though it were lit from within, or glinting off the dew making everything appear as though it’s been laced with diamonds… and I want to capture it before it disappears for another 9 months.

Naturally, I never get up early enough to actually accomplish this. I seem to love my bed a little too much. I can literally sleep for hours… especially on a Saturday morning.

But yesterday on my lunch break, I noticed that a few of the trees were not so green anymore. And when I went to the park to eat my lunch, I found it curious that the edges of the very same leaves that last week seemed so fresh and new, are now tinged with another color! Fall is on it’s way.

Autumn has always been my favorite season. I love the explosion of reds, oranges, yellows and purples that seems to happen all at once before the leaves surrender to the cold and drop to the ground. The chill in the air invigorates me! The smell of sugary-sweet foliage and wood smoke makes me want to find that favorite flannel. But when the days get shorter as darkness steals more and more of the light, I am reminded of how fast it goes.

And I don’t just mean the lengthy days of summer… I mean, it ALL goes fast. 

I can’t believe my niece is now the age I was when she was born. I can’t believe that the kids I once taught to swim can now be found at the YMCA, signing their own kids up for the very same lessons. I can’t believe that when I open my mouth, it is now my mother’s words coming out instead of my own. How does it happen? WHEN does it happen?

It happens day after day, night after night, little by little and in giant leaps and bounds. Gradually and all at once. We go about the business of our lives and before we know it, OUR leaves are tinged with another color. We get older, we build families, the youngers become the olders and just like the marching on of fall, winter, spring and summer… The whole pattern will repeat again and again. It’s been going on for centuries, and yet we’re surprised when it happens to us! Just as every fall I am surprised when I see the tips of that very first leaf start to blush…

You’d think by now I’d know.

There is nothing I can do to stop it. In the end, none of my efforts will slow it or even affect it. The best thing I CAN do, the ONLY thing I CAN do is get up early on a Saturday morning and grab my camera while the leaves are still green.