Freedom is a spider whose web you might want to survey

My partner had a long weekend away from work, and with a new schedule change will have many weekends off in months to come. I can say this is a nice change, but I can’t say I would’ve complained otherwise. One of the many positive perks about frequent schedule changes in our home is how they invite me to sift right through the unchangeable things of the day and be with them rather than put up my mental dukes to fight them away. I seemed to have a weekend full of these kinds of moments and think I did pretty well, considering my northern European ancestry. Everyone knows how much we like to hang the Serenity Prayer on our walls because we all know it’s true. And when we start to feel how true it is, that’s even better.

My Qi Gong and meditation class was canceled on Friday and I was looking forward to that time. So I went home and we lathered up with a new assortment of sun screens to paddle around in kayaks in the Bay of Cadiz. I packed a little cooler, dropped in two Fanta Limons for Carlos and a Pink Lady apple for me and considered us prepared. I was geared up for feeling something in my body besides sitting, jogging, yoga-ing, and curling around Carlos on the couch. As heavy thinkers all must know, body sensations are one of the best ways of leaving our heads out of an en vivo experience. But after waffling around the area and encountering the solitary kayak stand replete with padlocks and an obvious lack of personnel, we easily succumbed to returning another day.

The day before, when I had had a hankering for chocolate chip cookies and then ate them for dinner, I realized the result didn’t feel wonderful but the moment had already passed. I enjoyed the anticipation of kayaking, as well as I enjoyed baking and eating the cookies. So you see, there is really no reason for any mental mish-mash about why something I couldn’t control had occurred. I had already eaten the cookies for dinner, and the Bay of Cadiz had already determined their kayak schedule. We spent the rest of the day delighting over new groceries and watching Mary Louise-Parker flaunt her glimmering skin at us through re-runs of Weeds.

Today I sank into the couch, noticed the word “Freedom” flung about the internet for the American holiday, watched more re-runs, took a picture of our homegrown basil, and flitted about house noticing chores that might have been completed. At one point, I asked my partner if I was bad. He joked back, reminding me that I’m worthless unless I’m cleaning or producing something. So I kept on going with it; this feeling of  sloth-ing around and commenting on my soft addiction to Showtime was actually a nice way to spend a Sunday.

For a slightly different appraisal of this same experience, you can read about the spider below.


She crochets a web outside

my kitchen window. A busty

head pumping, her wispy lines

making more than a home. The

wind whips in an uneven jog to

her corner and I watch her legs –

how they calibrate so quiet and easy

to that air. I feel my hands sitting

white and still and remember other

times, when an impulse called for

action. I seized a broom, stabbed

the web. Wiped a grayness away.

It was so important to keep

a surface polished. But now

something stops me between

the movements. Like the legs

of all those spiders spun a circle

and sat down at once inside of me.

Oh, the tasks I leave undone

just to hear their tiny knees bending.

-Jennifer Sandberg


5 responses to “Freedom is a spider whose web you might want to survey

  1. Great post my friend… I have to process a bit and then reread. I will comment properly then. I do love spidies though. I like that you made that analogy.

    Mo later.
    love you,

  2. Hey Jenny,

    Seems like I have almost no uninterrupted time this week… but I did want to come back and say that I love the spider poem! I have a special affection and respect for spiders even though they make me shiver sometimes! Have you ever heard the native story about grandmother spider? I believe that knowledge is universal and residing deep within us all, and you have tapped into that well, and paint such a beautiful picture with your words… it’s hard to look at our 8 legged friends with anything but reverence.

    As to your weekend plans, good for you for rolling with it. I remember you talking about that and looking forward to it.

    Hope you are having a bouncy week and I look forward to more words! xoxo me

    • Hi Mia, I missed the story about the grandmother and the spider but now my curiosity is piqued. Thanks for dropping in and using “bouncy” in your wishes. That always does it for me!

  3. Thank you for your reflections on fostering a different sensibility towards action. Do you remember my presentation on spiders in 8th grade English? Perhaps it was “Charlotte’s Web” but I can’t destroy one to this day. Your poem calls attention to the way we snuff out creation rather than finding a harmonious relationship with it. I may just have to let those wasps build their next on top of my garage. Your creativity inspires me!

    • Hi Ang, That is wild! I do have this warm, vague memory of you and spiders. I like how you put it: a harmonious relationship with creation. It sounds less like effort and more like enjoyment. Thanks for your comments, encouraging as always.

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