Monday, September 3, 2007

Spinning a web

If there's one creation I'm not thankful for, it's a spider. The ultimate of creepy crawlies, these hell escapees have no place in this world, in my opinion. I know I know..."The greater good of the ecosystem...", "But they eat other bugs..." to that I respond with the worst pun of the day; "bugger off"! Because these 8-legged fiends about one-hundredth of my size are the bane of my existence ... and never so much as in autumn.
Ironically, I was born in the month during which spiders, as a species, reach their zenith. At this time they out do themselves in number and presence in the home as the weather gets colder and they migrate indoors to cause illimitable terror among arachnophobes, such as myself. Yet, as it is only the third day in September, the little imps remain outdoors but take the liberty to strew their silk from limbs of trees to anything and everything else that remains static for more than approx. 7 minutes. So that, upon leaving the front door in the morning, inhaling a deep breath of fresh air that holds the promise of brisk autumnal days ahead, I sally forth carefree toward my car when I feel it. Strands of loathsome silk cling to my face and give way while my own momentum carries me right through a web strung from the roof of the house down to the brick walkway. I spastically swipe at my face, arms, chest while frantically trying convince myself of some outlandish lie so as not to lose my head entirely in early-morning suburbia: "it's just your own hair, Meg" or "it's okay, that web has been there and unoccupied for ages!" No dice. My freak-out level is at about a 9.8 as I instantly fantasize of running back indoors, taking a shower and crawling into a huge plastic bubble in which I will plan to live out my days.
I read in "TIME" magazine about 3 years ago, that as a resident in the United States, one is likely to be within 8 feet of a spider at any given time. Yeah. If that doesn't keep you up tonight, nothing will.
I have nightmares about spiders all. the. time.
I bear a scar from a spider bite incurred about 8 years ago on my left hand thus ruining any chances of my ever becoming a hand model...little scamp...
To add insult to injury, these miniature monstrosities have a certain affinity for building their homes, right outside my bedroom window so that, inevitably, I will be cleaning my bedroom some lovely day and feel the impulse to open the blinds and THERE! Unexpected yet predictably some dastardly arachnid will be suspended in the middle of my view causing me to utter some uncontrollable shriek. You may think to yourself, "so what? tear it down and the problem is solved within minutes." No, my friend. The brutes are not only hideous to behold but they are also dumb as dirt. Day next, there it is again and it is only a matter of time before it, along with its kind, steal into the house unannounced and unwelcome. But no matter, for you see, I have the ultimate secret weapon. A lower-case-'g' god among men, spartan of the defenseless ... The ABC Pest Control guy.
So I sleep soundly, knowing my house has been vindicated of the curse of the little beasties and though I still have nightmares every now and then about spiders and wake up convinced that my disheveled hair is a mass of web - I know that $38 couldn't be allotted any more rightly than in payment to my champion, the pest control guy.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

This is why she has joy:

Because God saw fit to stock this world with a surplus of delights even though He's already swamped with getting heaven ready for us. Here are some of the things that remind me that our God is good (not as in He does pretty nice things and generally behaves Himself, I'm referring to the fact that He and 'good' are synonymous).

I like huddling different kinds of produce around a big cutting board, sharpening my knife and one by one processing the fruits and vegetables. Tomato skins yield under the serrated blade of my knife and its acidic juices bleed out and sting where I have hangnails. Avocados, also technically a fruit, are halved and pitted and heal my skin with its rich buttery pulp. Peeling onions, quartering strawberries, seeding peppers, scalding peaches, chopping cilantro, shaving carrots, skinning potatos... I deposit each chopped-up fruit and vegetable in its own bowl and I survey the array of smells, colors, even tastes either wafted up through their pungent aromas or recalled by memory.

Warmth. Everything about this word is comforting to me, it conjures up images of: Fluffy towels just out of the dryer, sunlight seeping into your pores, butter melting on a hot piece of toast, a heartfelt embrace, an aromatic cup of steaming coffee and having just finished writing a paper and collecting each sheet hot out of the printer with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Touch. Tracing someone's veins, sustaining life just under the surface of his skin, and lightly following their paths with your finger as you would a road map. Holding the hand of an old woman and feeling the paper thinness of her skin which is, metaphorically speaking, thicker than a rhino's. Petting a middle-aged man's arm befitting of Esau, smoothing the thick, unruly hair so that it all lays in the same direction. Kneading a friend's muscles as she discloses her latest woes to you and feeling the stress leave her voice tight from tears as well as her body as knots give way. Being close enough to feel body heat coming off of him and inhale the myriad of scents only he gives off and, finally, closing the gap between the two of you with a touch that is prude by the world's standards yet infinitely intimate to the two of you.

Friday, July 6, 2007

She is most herself in the summertime

I stealthily sneak past my parent's bedroom, down the hall and into the family room where I switch on a lamp in one corner and cross to the other to the patio door. I deftly and quietly unlatch it, casting a glance over my shoulder to ensure I'm alone. I cautiously step down onto the patio and a leaf crunches under my bare foot. I'm always paranoid, as I cross the threshold, that I'll feel the loathsome silk of a spider web against my bare skin as arachnids possess a certain affinity for building across doorframes; you'd think they'd cotton on after having them ruined so often and build their fragile homes on better real estate. However, tonight I am met only by the balmy night air which varies from my own body temperature by a degree or two. I ease the door shut behind me and turn to our old set of patio furniture we've owned since I can remember. I settle into a chair whose chrome and plastic thatching belie the comfort it affords.
I light a clove cigarette - a vice I rarely indulge in but nevertheless relish - close my eyes and lean my head back as I exhale. I open my eyes and they alight on the stars, my old and eternal friends. The Big Dipper, suspended high above seems to scoop up the lush branches of a tall beech tree that looms overhead. I follow Ursa Major's points of light to Draco's winding body and connect his bright dots with my finger that seems too clumsy and substantial an implement for such a task.
I close my eyes again and try to count all the sounds that fill my ears: crickets stringing, living leaves rustling in the trees and dead ones skittering dryly on the pavement, a far off motor rumbles, a few rogue firecrackers pop and water trickles from the neighbor's artificial pond.
In the process of collecting sounds, my head has lolled back down, automatically panning my view back to earth. Upon opening my eyes I observe fireflies socializing in the yard. I focus my attention on one pair in particular who are flitting around at a distance of a few yards, now they flirtatiously wink at one another from a couple of feet away from one another, now they've brought their frenzied coquetting within inches of one another circling round in elegant figure-eight motions. I look away and feel a certain prude embarrassment for having voyeuristically spied on their courtship.
After having watched the insects, paranoia sets in once more and I fancy that my skin is crawling with unwelcome six- or eight-legged guests. To counter this, I let my wet hair down out of its haphazard bun and let damp, unruly waves of it graze my shoulders and back so that now I'll only think it is my own hair I feel. The smell of my shampoo now overtakes the sweet, green smells that filled my nostrils - combining with the sickly sweet tobacco smell of my cloves while a gentle breeze playfully untucks a strand of hair I'd smoothed behind my ear.
A great many things threaten to crowd my mind but for now I am sharing a discourse with God and asking him to help me redouble my efforts to see things the way He does. It helps for me to look into the sky as I do this and I notice that a lone cloud is obscuring the big dipper. I make a silent promise to my constellation that I won't go back inside until the cloud dissippates, because I know it would be rude to take my leave without saying good night.