Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Moving on...

Today marks the last Sunday of my residency in Ohio.  I have loved you Ohio and you have loved me too.  And so for a time, we lived together you and I.  But now it is time for me to move on, out into the big world again.  I will remember you with love and friendship, Ohio.  

I came here by accident it may seem but in my belief system nothing in the universe works particularly randomly even if it seems to be.  Yet, even if my coming here was a random decision it was a good one.  Though it has not turned out to be an easy choice emotionally or financially, the things I've learned about myself, the confidence developed, the friends made will stay with me into the future.  Most of all, I've valued the pressure, can't explain it any other way, to continually discover and refine what and who I am.  The constant nudging to THINK about what is important to me to accomplish, to find my talents and pursue them and to leave all else by the wayside has been tough at times but mostly a comical head scratch.  My long-suffering family and friends who have chosen to ride the waves of life with me truly deserve a medal.  I cannot guarantee that the future will not hold challenges but Ohio, you have done your job and helped me along my path. 

I cannot speak of family/friends without becoming slightly misty eyed as they are the stuff of life.  I've made some good ones here, lifetime ones.  Kick me in the ass friends who when I was being silly would do just that.  Creative friends who have encouraged me to let my words shine brightly and friends who have been both.  Thank you.

So, these last few days will be bittersweet.  Thank you, Ohio, for sharing with me both your best and your worst. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

GACK! Its a Spider!

I was driving along today on a road which I drive at least 4 to 5 times a week, sun shining and all is well with the world.  Suddenly, as I rounded a bend I see movement on the dash!  I try to take tiny little peeks at whatever is moving up there while negotiating the curves of the road.  As the road straightens, I straighten up in my seat and realize that what I am looking at is a Jumping Spider, all of 1/4th of an inch long, running back and forth on the dash in a frantic attempt to exit the car.  


Now, being an ex-Naturalist, I am not normally afraid of spiders but at that moment in time the primeval fear of spiders hit me in the gut with a sucker punch that took my breath away and with every inch of me alert, my brain yelled, "OMIGOD, I"M TRAPPED IN THE CAR WITH A SPIDER!!"  

The spider was at this point panicked.  Spiders you know can read your mind and having heard my brain yell, knew that I was on to him and he was not long for the world.  He ran back and forth in front of the steering wheel, bobbing and weaving, he'd run towards my hand and then run back into the corner of the windshield.  At the same time, I'm looking all over the car for a piece of paper for him to 'jump' onto so I could throw him out the window.  I had slowed the car to a crawl, dumped my purse's contacts on to the seat next to me.  People were passing me, giving me evil looks and one guy even shook his fist at me.  All I could do was look at him, eyes begging for understanding and wave.  Why do we feel we have to be polite when in the midst of a personal crisis?

Up until this time I'd managed to keep him at bay with little waves of my hand but suddenly he decided that it was time to make a stand.  Planting his tiny little feet, all eight of them, he crouched....I KNOW that he was about to launch himself at my face...spiders know that by landing on our faces we will become totally incoherent thus allowing them to either gnaw our faces off or escape.  I was hoping that he'd decide to escape.  Needing to do something quickly, I rolled the window down creating a -10 degree vortex of rushing air and with the other hand shoved him over close to the window hoping that a twister would grab hurl him out.  And no, I do not have 4 arms but was at this time steering with my knee.  The spider to his credit hung on to the dash for just a moment before the wind caught him and with a passing hand gesture of a disturbing nature flew out the window free to fly at last.  

Now to the truth of all this.  This story is true and I did for a moment become panicked with the idea of being in the car with a spider.  Spiders neither read minds nor gnaw faces off.  However, the primal response they elicit is real.  Even I was subject to a few moments of upset upon finding this little guy in my car.  These primal fear responses often keep us from fully understanding the importance of certain animals.  

Spiders, bats, coyotes, raptors and snakes are a few of the animals who are categorized as scary or nuisance animals.  They are all top predators in their habitats, playing a vital role in the balance of prey species which would, population-wise, without these predators, become wildly out of control.  Spiders eat annoying insects, bats eat moths which eat crops, coyotes here in Ohio, help with deer and rodent control, raptors help cull the pigeon and dove populations, snakes eat mice and other small rodents.  Nature knows what she's doing and these relationships are important.   

So, next time you're stuck in the car with something scary, (your children don't count!) or out somewhere and see something scary, don't immediately panic, take a few seconds to consider how it fits in nature and how it contributes to its habitat before reflexively flattening it.  Think about how sometimes your journey takes you to unexpected places where you only want to get away or get back to something familiar and cut the little guy a break.  Let it fly free and live to see another day.