Life has a way of teaching us things along our journey.

Oftentimes they are things we don’t even want to learn and do so begrudgingly.

A few minutes ago I was filling up the water dish for the possums and raccoons, having just put out their food for the evening. It is the very last step in my daily chores for the night creatures that pass this way.

As I was filling up the dish, a tiny movement near me caught my attention and I spotted a lovely little spider just perched on his web, hopeful of catching an evening snack.

After I filled the dish, I grabbed my camera and tried to take some pics of him but I came up dreadfully short on the skills needed to pull it off. I could point at the fact that the breeze was moving the web and that I don’t have a decent lens for close up work so I had to work about 18″ inches away.

I could also point out that because of his size, I had to exclusively use manual focus, which with my eyesight, sometimes leaves a lot to be desired.

But the real truth is that I was working against several of my own frailties and sometimes when we do that, our frailties win.

In any event, I have attached three little shots that are mildly OK at the end of the blog so that you can see the little character and his lovely coloring.

Hope you enjoy!

As I sat at the PC, fuming at my miserable results, it suddenly dawned on me that the very subject of my endeavors is exactly the right teacher for one of those life-lessons that I mentioned at the start.

We all know the story of Robert the Bruce from 1306 and how the spider that he observed taught him to persevere and not give up just because of his failures. So, I won’t go into that here.

But spiders have a remarkable characteristic unlike almost any other creature besides their amazing perseverance.

Their patience.

When they finish their exertions and find themselves in possession of a worthy web to work with, their next step is that they wait. Patiently.

The whole purpose of the web is just to sit there and snare something that happens by. There is no active element to the catching. Simply waiting with its presence, in hope that it has been built somewhere that an unwary visitor might travel.

If she were a less patient little creature, she might build a number of webs and go from web to web, routinely checking for something that might have been caught. But no. She doesn’t.

She sits there patiently with one foot touching a silken strand, waiting for a vibration that might tell her something has come her way.

I don’t know what the average wait time is, but what I do know is that spiders often go 30 to 60 days without food which means that catches are not likely a very common event.

But do the spiders sit there and sulk? Do they moan and complain when a day or two has gone by and their work has gone unnoticed?

It takes then up to an hour to build a typical web and given that on average they live less than a year in their wild surrounds, their construction effort is the equivalent of us spending two work-weeks producing one.

So imagine, you have spent two weeks building something that you hope will provide you with something to eat but then typically wait a year before the first morsel comes your way (if at all).

How would you feel?

Would your patience hold up?

More likely than not, your moaning would be heard by your friends and neighbors almost instantly and by the end of that year, your state of mind would be inconsolable.

In recent years we have crafted a modern world that is built on instant gratification and apart from all the other aspects of humanity that suffer the consequences, patience is an early casualty.

Waiting for nothing is all well and good until one day, you have to wait for something.

I have been tasked with waiting on something extremely important for a year now and to say that it has fucked up my brain is an understatement. It is something that I deal with disappointedly every day and has destroyed what should have been a happy year for me.

I won’t get into the details, but while it is of huge importance, it is also something I can do absolutely nothing about.

And so I wait, impatiently.

Admittedly, with defeat and the depression that attaches on such a moment, patience begins to grow.

You begin each day no longer in expectation or even hope that something good will happen but you resign yourself to a belief that it will not happen today again.

And so as disastrous such an event can be, it builds within our character a tiny thread of patience.

It is only a thin thread and while it is directly only related to this one instance, it begins to spread little off-shoot threads that teaches us to scale back our hopes and expectations on other events that are happening in our lives.

Finally (whenever that may be) we realize that we have actually built a web of patience in how we relate to almost every thing in our lives.

And when we finally have that web in place, we sit there, gently touching one of the threads that lets us know whenever something is finally happening for us.

Only when we feel the sensation of a happening, do we reopen our floodgates of expectation and embrace whatever morsel life has finally chosen to send our way.

William Langland in 1360 wrote a poem that espoused “Patience is a virtue” and though sadly lacking on a global scale, it is indeed one that can make the road a little less fraught and bumpy on this journey of ours through life.

… just a thought.