I had two memorable moments today with non-human beings, that I feel tie nicely together. While reading this ask yourself, which interaction was more meaningful?
Today I had to work super late at CSC for an hour, so I had most of the day to myself. In the afternoon I decided to hike around North Park. There was a six mile loop that in reality just linked a ton of smaller trails together. Sometimes I had to cross train tracks, sometimes roads, and sometimes the trail would go off trail and straight up a hillside!
On one of the more remote parts of the trail (or as remote as you can be in North Park), the forest opened up into a meadow. I kept at the same pace until I saw her. This beautiful doe (picture above) was completely focused on me. To her I was a threat, while I thought of her as a magical moment on the trail. After a minute or two I went on my way.
Work tonight involved me driving the CSC truck and trailer to our main building on the north shore to unload equipment. My job has distinct seasons, where spring and fall are mostly on the road (with the truck) and the summer being all on north shore.
While on the road this spring I had a companion; a spider that lived in the window mirror. For a few months I would occasionally see this spider, even when I drove across the state to Harrisburg. My guess is that she lived behind the mirror. On Monday mornings when the truck was sitting all weekend I would find a beautiful web constructed. Of course through driving it would be destroyed, but I knew that she would be fine (since I would find her web again).
Tonight I found more than a web: little spider eggs! Even while driving as slowly as I could, the web was destroyed while traveling tonight.
So, which interaction was more meaningful? To me, it was with the spider. For months she was my travel companion, and I hurt her children. As I saw the web fly onto R28, I thought about all the time we spent together while traveling. How tenacious she is by building the web again and again, even though half the time it was destroyed.
“Charismatic mega fauna” is a phrase often used to describe what animals people want to talk about. Lions, Tigers, and Bears! Oh my! Everyone from kids, to scientists, generally don’t want to talk about the other animals that make up our ecosystems.
I used to be terrified of spiders. But when I came up with a lesson plan to teach about them, I became fascinated and now find them adorable. I’m not asking you to find them adorable, but the next time one is in your house take some time to look and study it before putting it outside. You might just find a new friend.