There weren’t that many spiders in New York. We were used to cockroaches but spiders were cause for alarm.

I finally left and moved to portland (i know, original). I moved there during the fall, one of two seasons in which spiders explode in population. I knew people who kept a broom on their front porch so you could sweep through the webs on your way to the sidewalk.

I would forget sometimes.

In time I grew to marvel at them, from what became a shorter and shorter safe distance. Contact was still beyond my abilities to handle, and then I was bit by one. A bad one.

I was healed by Chinese and indigenous South American medicines.

That following year and some of the next I spent wandering around Mexico and Guatemala, mostly, and my dealings with spiders were on another level altogether. This time i knew how to ask one to comfortably share a room. It all had to do with where I was coming from.

My last month in Mexico was spent on the desert floor of a mountain range in northern Mexico. The area was known to bring people seeking communion with a cactus that grows wild there.

I was there for that, too. But first the place made me soak in it – everything from the horror to the stark beauties of it all. And when the medicine and I finally found each other, it was with Its help that I noticed, finally, the colony of black widows I had been sharing space with that past month.

They were there, and they had left me alone. Now that I knew they were there I had to be more conscious to return the favor.

They were still there the next day. So was I.

So now I am living at the base of a mountain in far Northern California and I live in a house of spiders – there are spider plants everywhere, and at least three or four different kinds of actual Arachnida dwelling here along with us all. I found a black widow in a closet and begged it for days to relocate, and eventually it did. I could not think of the alternative. I had made a promise.

I have not seen another black widow since, and so I examine the rest from a safe distance. I check my daughter’s clothes and shoes before she puts them on, and I check my own shoes, too. I look at the sophistication and varied techniques in their webs, study their body structures and watch their patterns – some build squat, thick webs they appear to sit on, and position themselves in the same place for days. There are two such as this that I am observing at the moment along with a myriad of the long-legged wispy ones, and I am ever on the lookout for the brown recluse.

The spider, she keeps me conscious and aware.


Was just looking more deeply into my travel itch (paloma and i got our passports done/renewed and they are on their way) and envisioning going somewhere awesome with her, somewhere both of our senses of wonder are equally exploding with the juicy joy of life. i am good on the road. depth comes easy there. and clarity. I throw myself into change and scenery because it is easy to grow in that process and place.

I love my current project but it is a means to a different kind of end, for sure, something that will give my daughter and i a home base somewhere chill and cheap. Somewhere to stop and make decisions and bask in a sense of home.

right now that goal is pretty all-consuming and leaves little time for an explosive sense of wonder that is easy for me to come by. Oh, therein lies the rub, and the work is clear, digging for joy in every moment (which reminds me, mostly, of a few miserable days of digging out what felt like miles of acequias in southwest new mexico and which, of course, i now look back upon with romantic fondness).

but jeez… Make it easy here and there, just for kicks, okay? Brief little moments are perfect, just enough to leave me with a touch of ache and yearning. It is such food for the journey.