"Nothing in this world is a gift. Whatever must be learned must be learned the hard way." -Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan

(images: Golden Orb Weaver web, sketch of web)

A Golden Orb Weaver spider built her web beside the sliding glass door next to the main easel in my studio. It was unsettling to be that close to such a large spider at first (4" if you include the legs) but now it's a joy to watch her (and it didn't hurt that she took care of the wasp problem that our bug guy couldn't solve). When her food supply dwindled, she moved over a few feet to be in full sun where she's faring much better. She rebuilds parts of her web every day. When it rains she hangs onto her web by two back feet (!) and swings in the breeze letting the drops (fierce in this week's storms) roll right down her back. When the storm is over she is still for a while and then goes back to work, knitting with her back legs something no human sculptor could reproduce in its delicacy, strength, and breathtaking geometry. As I struggle to find balance in my current circumstances, I find comfort in her presence. I like her unflagging persistence, the way she rides out storms day after day after day, and the constant dismantling and reworking of her web. I seem to be getting spiritual instruction from my tiny monstrous muse.