The Writing Spider

Argiope Aurantia, aka Yellow Orb Spider, aka The Writing Spider. She was sitting in her web at the corner of my home, just beyond my worn-wood deck beneath the soffit where she would surely fall prey to cascading rainfall from my eaves. She was there when I returned from my vacation two weeks ago. She remains there still. I am concerned for her. Winter is coming, and she is not the first spider I’ve lived with who’s quietly disappeared with the first hard frost. But right now the fierce beauty rides out the breezes, wrapping her kill of wayward wasps in silken shrouds, and providing me moments of pleasure when I see her each morning.

Before I moved to this small Midwestern town, I had rarely seen one of these colorful spiders, but they are plentiful here in the autumn months, and I find myself fascinated by their striking selves. This year was the first, however, that I looked them up to find their many aliases, and when I read they are called The Writing Spider due to the unique patterns of their webs, the synchronicity made me smile.

You see, fall is the time of year I return to myself, and when I left work last Monday evening, the vibrant blue sky and warm air verily crackled with the energy of change. Looking skyward, I scanned for our local wake of vultures and was pleased to find them flying. I watched as they cut and wheeled, riding the thermals just over the bluffs along the creek. Exhilarated by their merriment, I remembered the full moon would rise that night, and that fall would officially begin two days later.

I made my way home where I started evening chores, which kept me inside until nearly dark, but after dinner I stepped out to the deck and looked to the horizon, where a slash of blood-orange moon glowed through the trees. Pulling on my shoes I walked into the night hoping to get a better glimpse as streetlights, traffic, construction zones—the trappings of civilization—cluttered my view. Finally I caught her resting heavily just above the trees. I stood at the intersection as cars buzzed through, and took in her full breadth. Then circling back home, I returned to the deck where I continued to watch her ascend, red turning to gold as she eerily gilded drifts of cloud as she rose.

In the darkness, I thought of my recent vacation when I spent time with the tribe of creatives I had not seen for nearly seven years. I thought of the vitality that creativity lends an existence, and I thought of my recent efforts to re-establish my work as a writer. Obligation and responsibility had, over the years, drained me of any spark of creativity, and any written work I had done had often been done for the sake of a paycheck. What I realized under that full moon was that creativity had to be part of the deal or writing, too, became just another job, just another tick off the list. So with that powerful lunar entity in front of me, and with what I would soon learn to be The Writing Spider at my back, I made a vow to once again live a more creative life.

I understood that priorities will need to shift, and it would not be easy. But I also understand that change is inevitable and necessary in this living world. The moon phases and seasons turn. A spider lays her eggs for spring then quietly disappears.