If I had a blog, today I would write about being a Lover of the Wild.
Charlotte arrived yesterday, weaving her great orb in the flower garden, next to the hummingbird feeder. The summer has been good to Charlotte, her yellow and black form is shiny and quite large. She will continue to grow as she dines on the insects who are drawn to the black-eyed Susan’s and phlox that are now in bloom, preparing herself for the day when she creates the silken cocoon in which her babes will grow, safe from winter’s chill.
Charlotte and her predecessors have been a lesson to me in what it means to be a lover of the natural world – a challenge to see the truth of things when my mind turns to superstition and lies. Loving Nature isn’t as easy as it sounds, for along with the astounding beauty and magnificent power lurk the vestiges of our most primal fears. Snakes, spiders, and a host of meat-eating predators have been vilified by humans since the earliest of times. What began as caution borne of instinct became fodder for horrific tales where any creature that threatened or unsettled us became a demon, intent on destroying human life. Those myths persist today and lead to the needless obliteration of species that couldn’t care less about the existence of our sorry race.
To love Nature is to acknowledge all of Her children as part of the web of life. If one thread is plucked from this great tapestry, we all suffer for its loss. At times, when we are truly threatened by The Wild, we have to make hard choices. I can’t let a black widow spider raise her young in the flower pot on my porch. It is too big a risk to take. But when I end her life and see her rush to protect her egg-case from me, I grieve for her loss. She wouldn’t use her venom out of spite or because of some evil intent, she would use it to protect her children the same way I use the killing-spray to protect my loved ones from her dangerous bite. We share the same warp and weft of life.
If we are true in our love of the natural world, we must not stand apart from it. We must return to being one with all that lives and breathes and shares our bit of Earth. I don’t want to study Nature as much as I want to become part of Her. I want the thread of my life to intertwine with those of the spider and the snake; the rabbit and the fox; the raven and the wolf. I want to enter the woods and experience the honor shared by naturalist Sigurd Olson when he wrote, “Then a great peace came over me…and I seemed to hear the pines and the wind and the rocky shores say to me, ‘You… lover of the wild, are part of us…’ ” On that day I will know my journey has not been in vain.