The Web


I noticed her about a week ago, holding on by a thin strand between the truck’s mirror and the driver’s side door. She is a tiny tightrope walker with spindly legs. The spider is the color of a golden raisin—an earthy tone that makes her seem less spider-like. The Internet says she is probably a web-builder, as opposed to a wanderer, but her choice to build a web on my truck tells me she likes to keep her options open: a homebody with a penchant for the open road.


Her world has expanded because she decided to build her web on my ten-year-old Toyota Tacoma. I make a trip to Starbucks to buy coffee in the morning, which is only a short ride from our house. Yesterday I had a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon. On Monday and Wednesday morning, I went to the post office. I would have chosen our neighbor’s boat, which makes regular trips out to sea, or another neighbor’s BMW, which is a much classier ride.


Sometimes she travels perched in her web, which has grown considerably. She’s remodeled and added a few flourishes. (I wonder if prey appreciate her architectural skills?) The web flutters and flaps in the wind. The cold air rushes through and around it. Her body pirouettes and twirls on the strands. I worry she might fly off, but she has sticky feet. I imagine her holding up a couple of legs and yelling, “Woo hoo!”


At other times, she sits tucked into the space around the mirror. I sense her spider eyes watching me as I watch her. Those are the mornings when she seems less daring, unsure of her choice to see the world from the side of a truck.


I listen to jazz or the news: A journalist has been killed; another young African-American man has been killed; Robin Williams committed suicide last week. Nearby, a stand of old trees was torn down yesterday so that developers can create yet another mini-mall. Recently, my husband brought home news of a co-worker’s disappearance or death. They aren’t certain what happened to him. Someone lost a husband, a father, a brother this week. I know what that kind of grief feels like. The eighth anniversary of my youngest brother’s suicide was just a few days ago. That kind of loss never entirely goes away.


The weight of the news makes me want to stay home, tucked in bed, swaddled in blankets. Shut the world out. Instead, I grab my keys. I check that my little spider and her sturdy web are still there. Soon we are on the road, moving forward. I watch as the air pushes the web into the shape of a parachute. I hold onto the wheel, while she dances in the center of the vortex.