A spider has taken up residency in our windowsill. Every morning I wipe away the cobwebs. By evening he has
webbed far and wide. “Dammit, he’s so stubborn.” I say each and every night to no one in particular. But he’s not really--he’s just making himself cozy, doing what spiders do spinning long and short lines to ensnare prey. Our little interplay has gone on for months. I know what I need to do to end this obsessive webbing, yet each day I simply wipe down the web and wait for his reconstruction process to begin anew.
We spin webs. Each and every day. We usually judge these webs, don’t we? “Oh, if only I could dust the cobwebs in my head away!” As we get older, the cobwebs get thicker, more tangled; seemingly more difficult to wipe clean. Truth is, we’ve all had our traumatic episodes. We’ve all bumped up against some unsavory business, perplexing personalities, compromising situations. Sometimes, we spin our way out unscathed. Other times, we’re not so lucky and we find ourselves spinning and spinning, attempting to understand our role in a grand event and how it shaped us; entrapped us. It begins to feel cozy and difficult to leave.
I'm approaching a milestone. The five-year mark from when I woke up one morning and realized that I needed to make some big changes. I've written about that change many times before. A letter of resignation. No real plan other than to not do what I was doing. To unlearn so that I could learn again. To sleep through the night. To walk my baby to school. To smile more. To explore. To love. The last five years have been all about those things, plus much more (I mean really, that's the benefit of not having clear plans...things just happen). A lot of healing, some new wounds to mend (that's the nature of this life thing), and certainly many, extraordinary adventures. Throughout this unfolding of time, I've found parts of myself laying low, not quite sure how to come out to say hello. Restless. They roll their eyes at me impatiently waiting for what's next. I don't have those answers, but I do know that I am finally free from the zillion and one limitations that have been holding me back.
In my old job I had a good friend who would say this every time we needed inspiration: Sandy Ridge. In the midst of a painful presentation by a completely out of touch leader, he would simply lean over with a "Sandy Ridge." Or seeing my glum face wander down a hallway, "you need Sandy Ridge." For those of you who don't mountain bike, Sandy Ridge is a series of mountain bike trails off of Hwy 26 on the way to Mount Hood. My friend was a skilled rider who had ridden all over the world, yet Sandy Ridge in humble Oregon was one of his favorites. The place began to take on mythical proportion, representing all that living could and should be. For all it's inspiration, I visited it for the first time last week. And, I didn't take my bike. I hiked it with a new friend, admiring the rock gardens, heady berms, and flowy descents. All these years it had seemed out of reach. Truth is, I was scared that I couldn't do it. That I would disappoint myself. That I didn't know how to live. I now know that is not true. There was nothing there that I could not navigate--what I can't ride, I can walk. I am not scared to slow down and reconsider my lines.
I don’t kill him.
The spider, that is. Maybe it’s because I admire his tenacity. Maybe it’s because I like to see his purpose always on display. Maybe it’s because I like to see his day refreshed with a hopeful clean slate. Maybe it’s because he’s a reminder that I can begin anew again. And again. And again.