It is a small miracle for me to know every time I set foot outside my door, that the ground below me, the air around me, and the sky above me is teeming with life, whether I am witness to it or not. And the real miracle is that this life goes on, despite our human insults and intrusions to it
Yesterday, as I sat on the deck steps, trying (again!) to get a picture of the goldfinches eating the bull thistle seeds, I saw movement on one of the coneflowers in the little flower bed beside the steps. At first…I swear…it looked like a honeybee was flying upside down (well, this HAS been a very strange summer for us). Looking closer, I saw that it was actually an unfortunate DEAD honeybee which was slowly being consumed by a spider.
After snapping a few pictures, I ran inside to look up the spider in our Audubon guide. The guide is rather limited, listing only a handful of spiders (Yikes. Just typing “handful of spiders” gives me the willies.) So I was delighted to find my lovely little arachnid there. She is a “goldenrod spider,” also called the “flower spider” because they live on flowers, eating the visiting insects. They usually live on daisies or goldenrods since they can camouflage themselves easily there.
I’m sure she’ll soon weave a silken sac around her eggs, but probably won’t live to see her babies hatch. Amazing, isn’t it, that on a single flower, there is so much happening—birth, death, and even sex, as you can see from this wonderful picture that my friend Wesley took for her blog. When I checked this afternoon, there was no sign of the honeybee, but the flower spider was still there, looking plump, lying in wait for her next victim.
Annie Dillard wrote in Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, “The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” Indeed. Most of us lead busy lives, and it’s hard to find time to just watch and listen. But when I do, I feel a deep peace and a connection to God. And in this mad world, where so many have lost a sense of the sacred, that connection, for me, is vital.
So maybe you can find a few minutes in your day to watch and listen, to try to quiet the voices in your head. To pay heed. To bear witness to the beauty. And to try to simply be there.