Let me preface this with a disclaimer:
I am deathly afraid of spiders.
ANY kind of spider.
I can spot them out of the corner of my eye, on a ballroom ceiling, from 40 feet away, blindfolded.
It is one of my very real fears.
I completely own it and truly understand the level of ridiculousness this registers on the phobia scale. But, it is wholly, unabashedly, super-ridiculously mine.
Thus, today I ventured into something called a “SWAMP” with great delicacy.
I stick to the boardwalk, read all the signs, follow the paths.
I mean, there are alligators in that water (they say).
We have actually been to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary a handful of times and never spotted the most prehistoric of crawling creatures.
Not only did we see the GATOR of alligators, rumored to be 40 years old by the volunteer staff, we also spotted a mama alligator sleeping with her eyes shut while tons of little ones crawled all around her in the swampy water.
Ironically, I was completely at peace walking down the boardwalk while snakes and lizards and alligators swerved below.
Now, if there had been a 6-foot long spider down on the swamp floor, I would have sped out of swampland faster than you could say, “Get Me Off This Ride!”
I’m not sure if I chose my fear, or if it chose me.
My mother swore the first time I ran screaming bloody-murder to save my life from the throws of a teeny-weeny bug was in response to a dead fly.
A dead fly upside down.
In my bathwater.
When I was three.
Apparently, I tore out of the bathroom, wet, naked, crying, and yelling: “Bug!”
It was the first of many de-bugging runs to come in my lifetime.
So, today, I was quite proud of myself when I held the camera still enough to get this shot:
Sure, the photos of alligators, snakes, lizards and other killer animals are more impressive.
But this photo, of a little web, well, it took more courage, more resolve, more commitment on my part.
And, I didn’t even turn and run screaming down the boardwalk looking for the first exit. I stood my ground.
Right there, something slightly shifted inside me.
Instead of seeing my life flash before more eyes, I saw a beautiful web, the amazing work of this little spider glistening right before me.
Not even Charlotte’s Web was able to do that.
Now, I’m not saying I want to start a spider adoption agency.
I’m just saying that I can almost see another side of this equation.
And, maybe that’s what those spindly little spiders have wanted me to see all along.
Score one for my head.