Perambulations inspired by a spider

Brain things / Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Today begins a week’s worth of daily, pre-scheduled blog posts. This will clear my written but unpublished backlog and make a valiant attempt at ending the navel-gazing I’m fighting this spring. I’m sorry the posts don’t really ask much of you; that feels a little selfish but I can’t fix it right now. Thank you for your forbearance in this matter.

I was watching a spider crawl down my wall and thinking I ought to get up and squish him.

He was just a little spider, though, and I was waiting for my daughter to go to sleep, and I thought I wonder how he decides which of his eight legs to move next? He decides so fast. It’s hard to believe there is really a brain in that little blob at all. Is there? Do spiders have brains?

What is a brain?

If that is the smallest brain, what is the biggest?

Maybe – I was getting very tired, lying there and beginning to think in pictures, not in English – maybe the whole world is the brain of a creature so big and so Other we cannot imagine it. That’s why it’s so important to keep talking to each other – we send the electrical signals within a gigantic brain. Every conversation, every text, every shared smile, every successful connection lights up the whole, and when we stop signaling, something big dies.

I thought on these things sleepily, for some time, and all because of a spider.

After a while I got up and squished him.

14 Replies to “Perambulations inspired by a spider”

  1. This is classic! And to think he/she (the spider I’m talking about) has no inkling what it inspired. How can such a small brain inspire someone brainier than itself? Do we inspire brains bigger than ourselves? Hee hee. Ok, this is nonsensical jibberish…I’ll stop while I’m behind.

    1. Jean!! I am so pleased with this development in your life! You are actually joining in my otherworld nonsense?! I still remember your very firm tone from childhood – “Shari, there ARE no other worlds.” Praise the Lord and pass the sparkling grape juice, gals. This is a major incident. xo

  2. LOL! This is great. Been there and started similar musing over something so small. But couldn’t he have been allowed to live? 😉

  3. Wow. I’m touched that I did such a good job of humanizing my spider that I have women around the world campaigning for his life (exactly two women around the world, plus my husband, who admitted when pushed that he was “somewhat disappointed”)! My spider was not Charlotte, I promise. He was her small and rather hairy cousin, of the jumping variety I suspect, and he was in my daughters’ bedroom. So his bell tolled, but if you each save the lives of the next three (hundred) spiders you encounter, my life will not have been in vain. {And if I had it to do over again I would pinch him very gently in a tissue and release him outside safe and sound, just for you. Maybe. So your life has not been in vain too.}

    1. OK, here is woman # 3 who campaigned for your spider’s life, but privately in her heart! 🙂
      Confession: this is my first time commenting on your blog, though I’ve read and enjoyed it for a few years. No excuses, that’s just me. But I had to comment on this. I’m 48 years old, and I still have these kinds of “other-worldly” brainstorms, too. But I let the objects live. Remove them from the house, certainly, though, if they don’t really belong there. 🙂
      Seriously though, I think the most profound thought in your essay is “That’s why it’s so important to keep talking to each other.” Thanks, sister. That gave me the courage I needed.

      1. Hi Edna. No apologies or excuses needed, but I’m glad you said hello. I love imagining… there is much about the world we don’t understand, and who knows what might be? I wish you great courage.

  4. I can more clearly see where your children get their creative, imaginative, and very expressive brains…certainly not from their very “intense” father! LOL Maybe that’s where they get their intensiveness?! Loved being with all of you this weekend!

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