Spiders Never Say Die: A Motto to Live By

Added on by Denise Gasser.

Do you believe in signs, or omens...or spirit animal best friends in the form of spiders? Neither did I. Generally speaking I loathe spiders; I curse at them and violently beat them when they cross my threshold. However, this loathing must come with a certain amount of fascination because I love to observe their disgustingness from a safe distance. So when a giant spider made her home directly outside my kitchen window I let her stay so I could gross myself out by looking at her all day long. I found my heart softening toward her as I watched her struggle for daily survival. Like one time she was hugely pregnant looking and frantically trying to wrap up her tasty meal but she was a bit overzealous and it dropped to the ground before she could eat it. Awww man...I hate when that happens to me, I thought:)

During a very stormy September there were several times when the rain would destroy part of her web and she would disappear. Every time this happened I thought for sure she was a goner, but after a day or two she would always come back, rebuild her web, and continue business as usual. I started silently cheering for her each time she made a comeback. Near the end of September there was a huge storm that literally flooded the streets. It obliterated her web and she disappeared for real this this time. It had been over a week and I have to admit I was a little sad when I realized she wasn't coming back.

Now...back to my own drama. It was the morning before I had to hang a big art show. Dan had already framed everything (such a supportive husband!) but I still had all of the finishing work to do which involved me using an actual power tool (never a good idea) to drill tiny holes, screwing in eye hooks, and wiring them. I also had to sign each painting (which somehow feels like the hardest part), spray them with a finishing coat, label the backs and then package them up for transport the next morning.

One day. Fifteen paintings. A fussy baby. A three year old karate chopping my leg. A husband heading out the door to work who wouldn't return until the wee hours of the morning. I was in trouble. Literally about to cry as I realized how impossible it felt.

Just then I looked up from the kitchen sink and out the window...and to my utter amazement there she was! My spider friend was alive! And she was working fast and hard to rebuild her web yet again. I felt instantly charged and motivated by her sudden reappearance and her stalwart resilience. Then I literally laughed out loud to realize how exhausted and desperate I must be if a spider was actually cheering me up. Clearly I needed more sleep and more social interaction. Regardless of how ridiculous it was, I actually felt better. I pulled myself together and got straight to work, but only after snapping a picture of my best friend in action.

I was calculated and collected as I completed tasks throughout the day. And I kept the power tool situation mostly under control, except when I drilled all the way through the wood a couple of times. oops. 

The only other hitch was the hardware store incident, which involved a wailing baby, a forgotten wallet and the imminent threat of a rainstorm. Turns out they don't let you pay with a memorized (yes, I may do some online shopping) credit card number! My rush in all this was not shared by Liam, who walked as slowly as he could. He actually said ‘I want to walk as slow as I can.’ Somehow we made it home, back to the store, and home again just as the rain started pouring down.

After that it was pretty smooth sailing. By early that night I had it all done!

Set up the next morning was also pretty quick and simple thanks to my good friend Julianne (also a super talented photographer). She came along to help hang everything and snapped some photos of the process.

photo courtesy of Julianne Kozak

photo courtesy of Julianne Kozak

photo courtesy of Julianne Kozak

photo courtesy of Julianne Kozak

photo courtesy of Julianne Kozak

photo courtesy of Julianne Kozak

It felt amazing to stand back and see all of my work up there...on the infamous thirty foot wall that I had stressed about for the past year. I had exactly enough paintings, no more, no less. Sweet Relief. Thank you Spider...I totally owe you one.