A spider has taken up residence in my car window. One day, about a month ago, I noticed that there was the start of a small spider web in the space that connected the driver’s side mirror and door. While out for a drive with my seven-year-old daughter, we watched a large spider emerge from behind the mirror and cling to the web. Despite the car going over twenty miles an hour, she hung on and her web stayed intact. I’ve never been a big fan of bugs and have been known to flee a room in terror when a June bug comes flying through, but spiders have never bothered me all that much, although this one was pretty big. At the end of the drive, I decided to leave the spider web alone and since then, my daughter and I have been observing it, amazed that nearly a month later, the spider is still living in the mirror. The web has been destroyed several times—a fast drive, a heavy rain, both of these have left the web a tatter of silvery threads, but nevertheless, she rebuilds.
A few days ago, I headed out to my car only to find that the strands extended from my car to my husband’s car, and I swatted my way through, thinking, Enough is enough! Yet as I drove to work, I felt a pang of guilt that I’d so carelessly knocked away the web that the spider had spent so long spinning. Who was I to decide where her home ended and mine began?
This morning, when my daughter and I got in the car to drive to the woods to take a walk, I was amazed to discover that a new web had been crafted in just the same spot as the old one. As I began to drive, the spider crawled out of the back of my mirror and clung to the web. During our walk, my daughter and I began to talk about the spider, marveling that she was still there after all this time. “It’s kind of creepy but I also really like it,” my daughter said, and I knew exactly what she meant because I felt the same way. We continued our walk, discussing the book Charlotte’s Webwhich we decided to order, and giving the spider a name (Daisy Maisy). By the time we drove back home, the web was gone again (the wind from driving maybe?). Still, I’m pretty certain that she’s still in the car mirror and will be hard at work tonight building a new web.
Maybe it’s the writer in me or maybe it’s the bittersweet end of one of the strangest summers on record or the anxiety of heading into what’s likely to be a fraught and difficult year for all, but it feels like there’s a lesson in here somewhere, or some heavy symbolism at work. Just what am I to take away from these weeks of observation? Something about the tenacious spirit of this little spider, determined to carve out a home for herself despite the obstacles? Or the need to coexist and offer a little compassion, or at the very least, to withhold the desire to destroy? Maybe it’s far simpler than that, a reminder to slow down and pay attention, to enjoy the tiny miracles of nature that continue to spin around us despite whatever may be happening in our small or larger world. Or maybe it’s just a spider and I’m just a writer trying to find metaphors where they don’t exist. Even still, I’ll keep watching for Daisy Maisy, keep rooting for her to rebuild, and try to appreciate the intricate beauty she creates in her web, even if it’s only for another day.