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Learning from Nature – a lesson in consumption

I used to be terrified of spiders. I remember when I was younger and I’d almost hyperventilate just at the sight of one. After having my sons and setting the intention of not passing my fear to them, I slowly overcame my fear of spiders.

This doesn’t mean I’m cool with picking them up and it doesn’t mean I want to go buy a tarantula tomorrow (although it has crossed my mind – I swear, I’m dead set on having a little zoo here at home), but I’ve learned to appreciate them and not just for what they can do for humans.

Spiders build masterpieces within only a couple of hours. Just last night we walked out to a huge web that was built by a spider while we were gone less than two hours to see the fireworks downtown. It’s taken me four days just to plan the layout of my grandson’s quilt. Don’t even get me started on how long it takes me to sew a log cabin block!

Spiders are amazing.

I especially love the orb weaver. I love her markings and her color. I love the zig-zag she expertly weaves into her web and with this side in particular, who lives just outside my backdoor, I love watching her grow from about the size of a dime to well over the size of a silver dollar. I’ve also loved seeing the evolution of her weaving skills. Totally self-taught, she began with a tiny, almost unnoticeable zig-zag and now, it’s quite a dominant feature. She’s not been practicing each day, but rather she’s simply been weaving each day and she’s done this very serious business for her life’s sake.


When my family saw the spider, they were quite taken aback by her. I think I did see glimmers of fascination, however, but one of my family members was disgusted when I told them that my daughter has seen the spider wrap her food and then suck the blood from the food she caught. “That’s so gross,” was the reply.

Trust me, I get it. Like I said, I used to nearly hyperventilate at the sight of spiders. I never found them to be anything but a nasty nuisance that must be destroyed at once (by someone else, because I was a chicken shit). So I definitely get it.

However, over the years, I’ve grown to see the delicacy and strength of the spider. Each night she builds a masterpiece in which she must catch her own food. What she catches, she quickly numbs with venom and wraps for safekeeping. Later, she eats the blood from that insect. What I’ve further noticed from this spider is that she only ever has one insect wrapped at a time. She only seems to eat what she needs to survive and she does it so delicately and dare I say, humanely.

I find this to be in stark contrast to humans, who buy packaged meats that were put in stores from factory farms, where pigs are shot in the head with bolt guns, which rarely kill them and then they are hoisted up by an ankle and boiled alive, before their skin is peeled away and then they are further processed.

I’m not a vegan. I’m not a vegetarian, although I used to be both. However, I am very aware of where my food comes from and I don’t fool myself into thinking what humans do is at all humane. The worst part is, unlike the orb weaver, a huge percentage of the meat that is produced from animals is actually wasted.

Spiders aren’t gross. Their living conditions aren’t disgusting. As a matter of fact, I think just maybe we humans might do well to take a lesson or two from our eight-legged neighbors.




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A Musing Mother

Hi! My name is Theresa and I'm a wife, mom of three, and grandma to two. I am a Nature lover and a follower of Christ. I live in an old farmhouse on the river where I homeschool our daughter. Most days, I can be found reading, making nature-inspired products, & gardening. I also enjoy traveling with my family, exploring cool local places, and helping out others where I am able. On the blog, I must about life, love, and learning.

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