By Sharon Sperry Bloom
QM and YB got me thinking about what my totem animal might be.
I’ve always had cats, my whole life, and I’m uncomfortable without one in the house right now. I think we probably have exchanged a few traits along the way, like a love of solitude and sleep.
I love dogs, especially the sweetheart who lives with us now. Two-Socks is a “rez” rescue and came to me via a friend at work who could no longer keep her. She is the most loving and obedient animal I’ve ever known.
I’m not big on fish; I feel they’re pretty but boring, but it’s likely just my lack of trying to find their personalities.
Same with turtles and rabbits. I never knew a gerbil or hamster.
I had a bat squeeze it’s way into my apartment once back in Michigan. I really liked having it there. We were peaceful with each other. I opened the front door and it eventually flew out.
I can stare into the soulful faces of the sea otters and seals at an aquarium all day. Once on a family outing to the Albuquerque Zoo, my husband had to literally drag me out of there because one sea otter kept stopping to stare at me each time he took a lap around the tank. We were communicating I tell you!
I like most animals. Unlike many folks, I don’t mind mice or snakes. Even cockroaches don’t freak me out. I wish they’d stay out of my house, but they don’t give me the heebie-jeebies.
Bees and wasps leave me alone as I watch them in the flowers. Even scarabs can be nice. I once came home and found a huge jewel-green one just sitting on my front door! It was beautiful.
I really had to think about this totem animal issue. And what I came to realize is that I’ve been sharing my life quite comfortably with big spiders.
I’ve seen some big wolf spiders in my travels around the state of New Mexico. I’ve always liked tarantulas and daddy-long-legs. And every summer here in Albuquerque, I have lots of black widow friends.
Yes, friends. There are some that live behind the potted roses on my porch. After a particularly windy few days, if the dust and dirt piles up, I may sweep them into the flowerbeds while cleaning the porch, but otherwise, that is their home. They stay outside and don’t seem to mind when my husband and I sit out there.
And there are the ones in our garage. The building is more of a carpentry shop than a place to park anything, and I am frequently in and out getting tools or making a frame for a canvas.
This past summer and fall, there was a big black widow female who had a web near an area I frequent for gardening tools. Every time I went in the garage, I would talk with her and tell her what I was going to do and where I needed to be. She was very accommodating.
I also warned her to move her web when I knew my husband would be near her space. I suggested either down very low, since he’s a tall man, or up very high where the shelves are filled with things we don’t much use.
She tried low for a while, but her choice wasn’t great. She was too close to the car jacks and Bill uses those to change the oil. So she moved up high, near the overhead door. I would tell her I was coming in before I opened the door so she could scoot out of the way if she was too close. Usually she would just hang out and watch me when I was in the garage. I talked to her. If anyone else came along, she’d scamper to a shadowy spot and hide.
I miss her now that it’s winter.
Spider. Creator. Grandmother. Delicate and strong. Shy. Dream weaver.
- Louise Bourgeois’ Maman, located outside the National Gallery of Canada
- The female black widow spider
- The meaning of Spider Totems, by www.animaltotem.com
- Dictionary of Insect Animal Totems, by www.starstuffs.com
- Spirit of Spider, by wolfs_moon.tripod.com
Sharon Sperry Bloom is an artist living in New Mexico. She wrote this essay based on a writing practice inspired by red Ravine post, What Is Your Totem Animal?
You can see Sharon’s art and read about her creative process in the post Under Your Voodoo.