A leaf hangs by a thread, twisting and sailing in the cool October air. Looking up, I discover the web’s creator, a large yellow and black spider – Nephilia clavata. I meet dozens of them on this walk. Some wait without movement, some weave lines around their caught prey, and some are even handicapped with two missing legs on one side. All just doing their best to survive.
Acorns and leaves litter the ground. All through the spring and summer, there has been growth and flourishing. Now, it is a time for gradually retreating and storing up energy for the cold months ahead. A mantis hangs motionless from above, looking back at me. I’ve never seen one like him before in the wild, so I gaze for a while as other insects buzz and flutter around us.
A little crab walks across the path, eyeing us. Earlier, I saw two single red claws that looked just like his lying crab-less on the trailside. Others like him must have gotten in fights and lost their limbs. It’s a hard life, I think, being a crab. Same for the spiders earlier with only six legs. But they do what they have to do and keep going, just like we do.
I can’t remember the last time I touched my bare feet to the earth. It’s definitely been a while. A layer of socks and then shoes normally cover my feet, then they step against concrete and asphalt in the city most often. This day, I take a moment to touch the grass and ground myself. I sit there breathing and remembering that I am part of this, we all are.
The sound of crickets calling to each other beneath the fallen foliage and grass. The scent of tree bark, pine needles, the gentle salt smell of the sea and soil still wet from yesterday’s rain. What a wonder it is to live in a world so filled with life and mysteries, growth and beauty… and yet so filled with challenges, violence, ignorance, greed. Into the October air, I send a whisper of gratitude, and a wish for awareness and change. Even if what I can do as one person seems little, as long as I live, I won’t stop fighting for and choosing the path toward compassion.