An Attack Of Conscience
On the first frosty day of the year, the spiders come out in force.
There haven’t been as many in the garden this summer as I’m used to, so it’s a pleasant surprise to see them so late in the year.
I spend a happy few minutes standing in the kitchen, looking out of the window pane in the back door to the garden. Cold air comes off the glass as I stare in awe at a beautiful web, spreading from the upper-right corner of the door-frame to well below what I can see from the window. Frost clings to the strands of the web like frosted sugar.
There is no sign of a spider, but I’m sure he’s somewhere close by, out of view, clinging to some outer edge of the web.
I finish up in the kitchen, and go up to the bathroom, continue getting ready for the day. I consider the web, and think about the state of the universe. The web of life. This isn’t sudden inspiration… I’ve been trying to fix the shambolic state of my existence for months, to be more mindful. To be a better person.
I’ve been thinking about becoming a vegan. It has become harder to reconcile the intricacy and grace of the creatures around me with the impact I have been having on them for so many years.
As I’m finding my keys, I decide I’ve done enough damage. No more tiny lives on my conscience. No more bullying downhill from my privileged spot up here on the food chain.
I pull the front door open. There, spun across the open doorway, three beautiful webs, overlapping and so close together that at first I think there’s only one. I can see one large spider in the center of the lowest web, and a smaller one higher up. Tiny droplets of frozen mist sparkle on the threads.
It’s hypnotising. For a long moment I forget entirely about going to work.
I shake it off, and half-step forward. Then remember my decision, and rock back. Webs across the front door and the back.
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