Lions and Tigers and … Spiders?

Cindy ArpOur Town Outdoors, Powell

Living in the country, I enjoy the wildlife. Except spiders. And raccoons who poop on my porch, but that’s a story for another time. I hate to go all girly, but spiders give me the shivers. A few years ago, however, I found myself rooting for a spider. Here’s what happened.

Dan and I used to run a small carousel. Dan built it and powered it via a bicycle which turned the gears. We took it to festivals, offering free rides with a donation bucket saying anything given would be passed on to various local charities. We were happy to raise money for worthy causes, but the best part was watching the children having such fun on it. A short time after we began using the carousel, word got around and we began receiving requests to pedal at various events.

One summer we accepted an event at the former World’s Fair site. If my memory serves, the event was called something like “Everybody’s Birthday.” On the appointed day, we were directed to a site near an in-ground fountain which sent jets of water onto the delighted children playing there.

The site was mostly concrete, it was going to be hot, but there was a large tree near us. The tree was surrounded by a nice patch of dirt. We would have some shade later that afternoon. Setting up the carousel involved mostly Dan muscles, so until we got to the Cindy cleans the horses, puts up the umbrella and puts down the rubber safety mats, I stood around and watched.

The carousel was stored outside, near Dan Land, and when Dan took off the tarp covering everything, a huge spider strolled out. Terrified, I jumped back telling Dan to do something!!!

He refused, after all, the spider wasn’t hurting anything, he was just scary. The spider headed away from us, towards the tree, so I calmed down and became interested. Spider was about halfway to the tree, not to the dirt, when a robin flew by.

The robin saw an opportunity and landed on the ground beneath the tree. Mr. Spider saw the bird and froze. The robin looked away with a “this has nothing to do with me” attitude and the spider began slowly creeping towards the tree. I was now completely invested in the spider, but as soon as all his legs hit the soil, the robin pounced and in two quick pecks the spider was breakfast.

Dan looked over and said, “The Circle of Life.”

He was right. It was the circle of life, and that circle always includes unexpected things. In that circle, we might be the bird, but someday we might be the spider. With a spider possibility it seems important to attempt more awareness of life. It’s impossible to savor every moment, but I now try to stop a few times every day to notice what is around me and give thanks.

There might be a robin lurking nearby.

Cindy Arp retired from Knox County Schools as a teacher and librarian. She and husband Dan live in Heiskell. And she goes hiking once a week – even in a forest fire.


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