The Web Giveth, the Web Taketh Away

by Abigail Lewis

My house must be listed in Better Webs & Gardens. No matter how many times I wrap a rag around the head of a broom and brush out the corners and crannies, there’s always a fresh supply of spiders setting up housekeeping.

I’m not unhappy when errant flies and ants get trapped in a spider’s lair. But yesterday morning, while hurriedly watering my backyard roses to help them withstand the afternoon’s heat, I noticed a golden butterfly trapped in a web spun between two branches of a rose bush. Work deadlines loomed and I needed to get to my office, but I just couldn’t ignore this trapped wisp of beauty.

Not sure if it was still alive, I lifted it ever-so-gently and removed the gooey web from its tiny legs. It sat on my finger, barely fluttering its exquisitely fragile wings, but showing no inclination to fly. There was no recognizable damage so I coaxed it onto a damp geranium leaf, thinking it might be thirsty.

The stunned creature still didn’t fly and I was just about to move it into the shade and out of the reach of my curious cat when, to my great relief, it fluttered off into the sun.

There is so much joy in saving or giving life. I imagine the rescue workers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina feel a surge with each person saved. Conversely, how painful must it be with each one lost.

Safe and dry in Southern California, tied to our jobs and our commitments, it’s often frustrating. I know I’m not the only one who wanted to fly to Crawford, Texas with Cindy Sheehan (pg. 22) and the 9,999 or so people who turned out in August to support her in getting an answer from the president that would satisfactorily explain the death of her son.

And I’m sure many of you would eagerly have hopped a bus to New Orleans or Mississippi with me, to help our distant neighbors struggling after Katrina.

Anyone who determined to was able to find some manner in which to participate, whether donating money or assisting with fundraisers or clothing and supply collections, but Sarah Nuss-Galles discovered a way to get intimately involved — personally connected with evacuees — through another kind of web. You can read about it on pg. 24.

Here is a strange thing: some people who share our planet believe some lives have more value than others. I have to admit to wondering, in the days following the hurricane, if white-skinned toddlers with curly blond locks, or coiffed women with gold necklaces and Prada shoes, or men in Armani suits and Ferragamo loafers would have been left stranded on roofs for days on end. It was strenuously argued in the media and allegations were rampant. What do you think?

I stumbled across a disturbing website that included this bizarre message: “We believe that every human deserves the right to life — from conception to death — and that we do not have the right to kill unborn children nor to murder the elderly through active euthanasia. We do, however, support the death penalty.” An interesting contradiction. And again, the message that some lives have more value than others.

I was appalled by much I read on that site, which is accumulating signatures of approval for what you just read and a host of other statements, including that our government should be guided by the Bible.

When I first discovered it a couple of days ago, the site had registered 19,000 names. Two thousand more have signed on since, and guess which true-blue state has the most signatures? Yes, these folks are our neighbors, too.

Life is full of synchronicity, and as I was writing this, I received notice of a new spider exhibit at the Natural History Museum. Hmmm, I wonder if the museum is looking for any more specimens to add to their collection. That’s a donation I’d be really happy to make.

From my heart,
Abigail Lewis

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