If you’ve ever been around woodsy folk for any length of time, you’ve probably wondered why a seemingly perfectly sane gal in other respects walks around holding a stick vertically out in front of her face, pointed toward the sky. I had someone ask me once if I expected to do battle with a dragon … or maybe I’m prepared for a surprise sword attack by Narnia’s overly enthusiastic little rodent warrior, Reep-a-Cheep. (Hey, as long as it’s not an *R.U.S. from the Fire Swamp, right?)
Well, we do this weird mannerism for good reason. And you’d do it too if you’d ever walked face-first into a spiderweb stretched between trees that wrapped itself around your face and glued itself to your hair like a sticky hairnet. Those busy spideys are extremely productive little fellers and love to leave surprises strung between trees. Especially overnight.
You might’ve walked in the same place unobstructed yesterday, but today you hit the gargantuan web from Hades. So big you wouldn’t be surprised to see a bald eagle wrapped up snugly for lunch. And unless you happen to see the web from the right angle, it’s pretty much invisible. No matter how massive it is. Splat. You’re tagged before you even know what hit you. (Notice in the “invisible” photo below left, you can only see the white dot in the center of the spiderweb, nothing else. But it’s the exact same web as the photos on the right.)
As a diehard woods-traipser raised near a swamp (a double whammy), I spent most of my childhood picking silken threads out from between my teeth and hoping the bulk of the web that was tangled in my hair wasn’t still manned by the humongous spider that created it. Most times they weren’t. (That’s supposed to make you stop shuddering. Did it work?)
Now that I live in suburbia, the big, fat, full webs aren’t as much of a boobytrap. Maybe because there aren’t as many trees, I don’t know. But the single web strands stretched across the sidewalk certainly are an ongoing problem. Those are super hard to see, and pose the same wrap-around dilemma, only smaller. The stick defense works fine and dandy for these monofilaments too, but you run the risk of your neighbors calling the cops on the crazy lady creeping around the ‘hood with a raised weapon.
I just tell ’em I’m fending off bats. That usually gets rid of them fast. And oddly enough, I’ve started to see other fine folks carrying sticks over their heads when they walk. Go figure.
Yesterday, as I pondered this mystery of nature (while I finger-clawed spiderweb strands from my eyelashes), as usual, Papa God had a lesson for me from the Cathedral of God’s Creation.
Satan, infinitely more wily and clever than any spider, leaves nearly invisible traps for us all the time. If we’re not alert or prepared (armed with a sturdy stick to hold up in front of us), we walk right into them. And the aftermath ain’t pretty. It’s often a web of deceit wrapped tightly around us. It’s sticky. And creates nasty tangles. And more often than not makes us panic. Or run screaming. Or throw ourselves off a cliff. Or all of the above.
Our stick (defense) is the Bible. God’s holy Word. It’s a lamp unto our feet and a light for our path – it shines ahead of us, catching those nearly invisible webs in just the right light to expose them. But it won’t protect us if we don’t use it.
Okay, that’s my revelation for today. It’s fun to worship in the Cathedral of God’s Creation – I always look forward to my next lesson. I really think Papa God chuckles as he figures out a new one to hit me with each week. I apologize if you’re arachnoid-phobic. I truly admire a splendid spiderweb and think it’s a thing of beauty and a joy forever (as my Granny used to say). So intricate and amazingly detailed.
Can’t say why, but I really don’t mind spiders too much. As long as they’re not backstroking through my hair.
Listen, remember this tip for the next time you go woods-camping: Unless you want to wrap a sticky hairnet across your facial orifices, hold a small tree branch vertically in front of your head as you walk through the trees. And remember to thank your good friend Deb.
*R.U.S.: Rodents of Unusual Size from everyone’s fave book/movie – The Princess Bride.