(In the final entry of this three part series, I'll apply the qualities and experiences of Whitman's noiseless, patient spider to my own search for joy.) I never thought I’d identify with a spider, but I do believe, along with many other interpreters, that Whitman captured the sentiments and tendencies of many artists and thinkers (of which I’d at least like to become when I grow up) through his little eight-legged friend. Although I’m not so sure Whitman would say the spider derived its purpose from the Lord—in fact, his poem can sound quite existential—Whitman’s spider has served, for me, as another great image of pursuing God.
(In this second entry in this three-part series, I will introduce both Mrs. Sir Isaac Newton and Mr. Walt Whitman to our conversation on spiders and longing.) She appeared in the doorway of our deck about five years ago this upcoming September. I never appreciated the arachnids who decided it was their responsibility to decorate the front porch or deck every night and hang there, front legs extended, staring into the house, but I first noticed this speckled and bulbous-bodied spider early in the morning while eating a bowl of cereal.
I had just turned left onto 25-E, headed towards Knoxville, when I felt something looking at me. I glanced to my right. Something definitely was looking at me. Something with too many eyes and too many legs, it’s inky, fuzzy body skirting across my dashboard.