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"Spiders" motivational short story


 In German people say "Ich glaub, ich spinne" when they are very upset about something. Literally, "I think I am crazy" or how would you translate it. "Spinne" also translates as "spider" and it was the most popular pub in our city where we headed to during school years. We never improved in connecting with the female species much but we practiced our drinking habits nonetheless. 

It was in Hamburg, Germany, where I met the biggest spider in the art world again: 'Mother' by Louise Bourgeois. A giant steel sculpture that I first saw at Tate Gallery in London. It filled the former turbine hall and people wondered how they got it there. In Hamburg it was in front of the museum not far from the train station. Bony steel legs and a net with eggs below her body. People stared up in wonder as people generally wonder about spiders.

When I was a young boy I saw them hanging in hedges and trees. Little spiders with eight thin legs and a cross signed on their back. We felt both mystified and frightened according to unsolved stories you keep hearing. There was no internet or global information back then. We were kids playing outside all day until dinner. We played and played and saw spiders and watched how they hung there calm and still next or inside their webs glistening in the sunshine. We let them be and didn't cause them harm ever once.

One Christmas ago my uncle visited our family to tell about his travels to India. I had never been outside of Europe so this intrigued me more than any gift. Of all possible travels this sounded the most interesting. So many cultures in one and the biggest population in the world. My favourite food, exciting landscapes and those colours. 

So after Christmas dinner he showed us a presentation via dia projector. With each picture screened on the wall next to the Christmas tree he told a story what happened. On a tour to the mountains in Northern India he had rented a chalet. He put down his backpack and went to the bathroom. As he was about to use the toilet he discovered a big spider on the wall. The biggest spider he had ever seen. He felt more frightened than mystified and killed it so that many little spiders escaped the body of the mother. 

We were shocked watching this spider on the dia on the wall as if it would come alive again next to the Christmas tree. We would never have such an experience as European spiders are small and harmless and they never carry so many offsprings. His Christmas gift was a sheep wool pullover that kept warm but itched also with tiny splinters. Sometimes I thought this was because of spiders inside the pullover. 

I began to recognise spiders in our house. They were in the garden, they came to the bathroom and even up to under the roof. My brother and me had a room each there. Every time I saw them something decisive had happened. Some exam in school, some result in sports, someone I have met or some phase I couldn't understand in my young life.

I began to understand that spiders are animals of networking. They not only settle with their web to catch prey but also settle with a higher meaning. Spiritual encounters I didn't tell anyone about or they would call me mad and kill them like my Uncle had done. In nature animals become aggressive if you attack them. If you hassle a bee or a wasp when they come to you they will hassle back. If you provoke a dog he will provoke back. A spider is fragile and tactile and they don't spread poison in Europe.

In fact, there is only one spider on this planet that is poisonous only to humans. It lives in Australia, This same poison from that spider can also be used for heart attack treatments. But doctors are still trying to find a right cure.

In the movie Spiderman a young man uses skills of a spider that had bitten him. Climbing walls and towers with the glue of the web. Dynamic and agile he helped people where in real life he was a useless guy. Someone normal and average who was not capable of such things. 

When I visited a friend in Prague he hosted two French tourists via AirBnB. They left a bad review claiming the room was dirty with spiders and they saw me "lurking around the kitchen like spiderman". We never want to meet spiders really in the unknown.

My mother once said I need to clean my room when a spider comes. They are a sign of too much dirt and dust. But when I saw them I let them be, let them live, and even watching them hanging above me in bed. I wasn't scared of what The Cure were singing in that song and I didn't follow what my mother told me. They never caused any harm or provoked bad assumptions. 

They became my first pets and the best I ever had. They were just there, patiently waiting, living their slow lives, only ready to save their web they have cobbed artificially, catching little flies and other insects. There was no harm This web looked beautiful in sunshine, shiny threads orchestrated around geometric formations. Eight elegant legs holding a tiny body with dark eyeballs. 

Would the spider communicate with me? Was I going mad? Would someone tell me "ich spinne"?

I would like to ask my uncle again about the spider but I know they have a different meaning in Asia. If I ever travelled to India I would have to change my mind. I wouldn't be the same boy as I used to be. Otherwise, they might sense my experience and attitude and let me live also.

Label : Inflame Story

Author : Joe Pickart


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