Warning: If you suffer from arachnophobia, my apologies!
Window cleaning is probably one of my least favorite tasks. I’ll clean twenty toilets and the refrigerator after a couple of weeks away on vacation with joy before I get to the windows. But when some of the perks of your home are copious amounts of sunlight and great views, you have to get to work at some point. It takes buckets of hot, soapy water to remove the grime, dust, dirt, finger and face prints of my 4 year old (yes, she’s 4 now!) However, spiders really like my home too— a lot. So there were webs, some old and a few new ones. There were the carcasses of lady bugs, bees, beetles and other spiders as well. You can imagine that there isn’t enough eco-Windex in the world to clean these window quickly.
I got my step stool, a roll of paper towels, window cleaner and a bucket, along with rags and a butter knife to clean out the crevices. It was with pride that I completed the first two windows and was able to enjoy my new, unencumbered view. I moved the furniture and my art easel back to their home. Then I moved onto window 3. Fortunately, I can open these windows inward, so very little acrobatic skill is required. As I cleaned this window, something caught my eye— it looked like a sprinkle of salt and pepper in between the panes of glass.
Spider eggs! I’d never seen them before but I was pretty sure I was right. Ever since I read Charlotte’s Web in elementary school, I have been fascinated with multi-legged creatures. We have a no harm rule in my home and I have stopped more than one yoga class to usher an 8-limbed friend out of the room. “No need to worry, I won’t hurt you. Just
cleaning”, I whispered. I continued to clean the inside and outside of the window and closed it. As I stopped to remove a tiny handprint, my stomach growled. I realized that I’d been up for two hours and hadn’t had breakfast. I wanted something quick and decided to scramble eggs. As I waited for the butter to melt in the skillet and the bread to toast, I scanned FaceBook. The first post I saw was an article written by the son of one of my yoga teachers. His father passed away about a week ago. I stood there and read his son’s description of his father’s last months. I was overcome with sadness and gratitude for this man’s life— a person that I had never met in person. His son spoke of his father’s grace and wisdom even as his body failed him, even when he could no longer move or speak. Just his expression or his gaze communicated to his family, friends and students all they needed to know.
With the butter burnt, I cracked open a double yoked egg and thought about the spider eggs in the window. I quickly Googled “what do spider eggs looks like?” and was validated. I learned that many spiders lay their eggs inside a silk egg sac, which is usually hidden in a web, affixed to a surface, or carried by the female. I thought about the spiders that had spun the webs outside of my window. And how time and conditions had worn them away. I thought about the little spider bodies that I had just cleaned up and the spider eggs in between the window panes and realized that these little ones, still growing and developing would also, one day, meet the same fate.
After breakfast, I resumed to my project for the morning. As I moved to window 4, I saw the first live spider of the day. Maybe she’s their mom or he’s their dad or their grown up, as Eva likes to say— I don’t know how it works with spiders— but as I lowered the window, the spider scurried into the corner and made itself very small. “You’re safe. I just needed to clean. It was time don’t you think?” I’m not sure how much, if any, the spider understood, but it stayed in the corner and I finished window 4, deep in thought.