Poolside Spider

(For The High Calling writing prompt: Best Vacation Stories. Write your own and share it!)


We went a mile down the hill to Wilson Ranch Pool. All three boys splashed into their forty-minute swim lessons. A white plastic lounge chair welcomed me poolside, and I accepted its invitation.

When my sons take swim lessons, for me it means two weeks of sunbathing by the pool with a book, or with pen and paper. Each day, forty minutes of enforced relaxation.

I settled down to read but couldn’t, for a jealous spider on the arm rest caught my eye. (“Look at me, not that book!”)

Because the tiny spider was ochre-gold and seemed translucent, I wondered if it was young—a spiderling. I continued my sunbathing but closed the book, for this spider already had claim to a heartstring or two.

The spider was playing! The spider was dancing! (Would it have put on such a display if I had not watched but kept reading?)

Two legs spread much longer than the others. I thought this varying leg length made it pretty. It must have thought so, too, for she (let me say it was a girl spider) put on a fast-strutting fashion show. Ladies and gentlemen, behold the grace and versatility of these eight slenders! Notice her cephalothorax in perfect position, the sun glowing gold through her abdomen …

She spread her legs all the way flat to maximize her top-view diameter. She turned, ran, and in delicate balance stood all eight “on tiptoe” in complete opposite of her previous position, this time maximizing her height.

As if to say, “See all the things I can do?”

She turned again, ran again, and faced me head down, bottom up. She looked like a puppy teasing and inviting me to play—or a threatening wolf, I couldn’t tell which. Probably a bit of both, and laughing, too. I backed off a little, just in case.

With more varied and repeated displays of legs out and up, abdomen at every angle between zero and eighty degrees, she captivated me.

By now I had put my book back in the bag. The spider’s front was low and her rear higher than ever in a position she had not assumed before.

Was this the finale?

She remained almost vertical, very still to freeze time for me, as if waiting for a drum roll. Then—delight!—she released a fine thread and ballooned away, though I felt no breeze.

Bravo! Bravo! I almost stood in ovation.

Though she would give no encore, my heart-applause sustained. She left something behind for me: her playfulness, joy, and exuberance.

Most awesome of all, she left in me a desire to praise and thank and exult in the One who created her … and me.

Father, you have used one of all Your creation—one smaller than a raindrop and light enough to fly on a non-breeze—to draw myself to You and to bring me to worship of You, Creator of the heavens and the earth, and Owner of all that is in them. Can You use me, too, that others would see You and worship?


(Photo credit: rene de paula jr, via Creative Commons)


10 thoughts on “Poolside Spider

  1. This is so cool, Monica. You are such a fantastic writer, and it’s a joy to watch this story come to life here. Thank you for linking up with us at The High Calling!

  2. So beautiful! I love your attention to detail and you delight in the little things. I would have probably had trouble letting the spider hang out with me on the poolside chair, but maybe next time I should try it. Thanks for sharing a snippet of God’s glory in the everyday. (Visiting from The High Calling)

  3. So, normally spiders make me go, “ewwww,” but this was just beautiful. And it reminded me of the day last week that I had wedged myself between an overgrown bush and our house, trying to pull some weeds in the landscaping. They were tucked back where no one but me knew they were there; that’s why I was pulling them. Suddenly, a big, brown spider emerged, skittering over the mulch and onto a rock. Normally, I would have shrieked. But something about him made me just watch. They really are amazing.

  4. I was holding my breath, unsure if this was going to have a twist ending (“And then she bit me. Turns out she was poisonous and I had to stay in the hospital two days while they pumped something in to counteract her venom.”). Instead, it turned out rather Charlotte-like, though this is Charlotte’s coy cousin, flirty and feminine rather than thoughtful and sensible.

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