This is a story. A true story. A story about a spider who lived in my mailbox.
Back in the day when I lived in New England, I noticed a spider hanging off of my mailbox. A disgusting and vile thing. Yet, he had a certain elegance to him. Perhaps, because he had purpose and that purpose was bigger than he would ever know.
Every day at a certain hour the spider could be seen hanging off his webby string which attached to the bottom of my mailbox. He had a schedule it seemed, as he would only be seen during certain times of the day. Obviously, spiders have a rhythm and they must feed to survive and do so on a certain schedule and in a certain place. I would imagine him having his own version of a 9-5 only to come "home" and rest while suspended off the mailbox. I imagined that when it got colder, he went inside and fashioned himself a condo and rested among magazines and letters as needed.
I also imagined killing him.
In Russian culture as well as many others as I've recently discovered, killing spiders is considered bad luck. So why did I want to kill him? Because some animals get a bad rap. Spiders are pests, they are vile and not aesthetically pleasant as other creatures. And this one had a face only a mother could love. He was also in my mailbox and therefore, in MY home. An unwelcome guest making his presence known, deferring on the rent and drinking out of your milk carton. Or something like it. But I also imagined him sitting on my hand when I reached for the mail or getting near the kitchen or bedroom and disturbing the peaceful existence of my home. As usual, I imagined the worst.
But unbeknownst to me, somehow over a period of a few months I got used to him (or her, somehow spiders seem male.) When coming home and not seeing him in his chosen place I would ask where is Mr. Spider (the male thing again.) Perhaps his meeting is running late? Seeing him staying when the weather got cold, way past when I thought a spider could live, made him kinda cool. He became a neighbor and not a pest. He didn't disturb me and I didn't disturb him, even though his presence was still slightly jarring to me.
I have dreams. Every single night. They are vivid, complex, and I almost always remember them. Often, it is something I think about during the day, or the dream resolves a situation I am anxious about. One night while in a state of deep sleep I dreamt that I was walking down the street and felt something land on my head. It was hefty enough to feel its weight pressing into my skull and scurrying about my hair. A spider. THE spider. I patted my head like it was on fire. I screamed. I jumped. I woke up.
I was disturbed and angry. I felt jipped that in my dreams, the few places I get to rest deeply and let my imagination wander free, lead me to a place of my worst fears. Then, I looked at my alarm clock. And it was 5 min. past the time it was supposed to go off. The alarm failed but the spider woke me up. I made it to the bus on time and to my meeting. All thanks to him.
So what's the moral of the story? As a reluctant believer in signs and anything remotely magical this FELT like it had depth. I do believe in balance, I believe in good leading to good and and in positive healing energy. Everything happens for a reason, but only if we choose to see that reason. Had I killed that spider he would not be on my mind. Had I done that, perhaps, it would be bad luck which would resurface later in some way...like say a spider on my head outside the dream world. But I let him live and I let him stay. And in the end, he repaid me by waking me up the only way he knew how...by scaring the shit out of me!
This story is about the domino effect that arises from every decision that we make. Even though at the end of the day there are no magic spiders who know what time you need to catch your bus, there are choices to be made. Some lead to stories and positive outcomes and others are lessons to be learned. Perhaps with a little creativity and imagination (and vivid dreams) one might get a glimpse of the workings of the entire universe in a mere spider who for a few months decided to make his home in my mailbox...