I’m waiting for spring. And I’m dreading it.
(click to listen to peepers)
I’m eager for song: choir, bird, frog. And blossoms: those first wild daffodils push a silly grin up from my belly. A forecast of snow, cause for joy last week, makes me angry today. I want to frolic by the river with dogs, and laugh with friends on the deck.
But then, the spider walks across my bedroom floor and there’s a tick on the dog.
It’s not that I don’t like bugs; I am appreciative of all sentient beings, and my definition of sentience is broad. But I still have a lingering horror of arachnids. Creepy wolf spiders and those Lymes-spreading deer ticks can all just DIE, my karma be damned.
Of course, strictly speaking, neither ticks nor spiders are true bugs. ‘True bugs’ are of the order Hemiptera, comprising around 50,000–80,000 species of critters like cicadas, aphids, planthoppers, leafhoppers, shield bugs, and more. That distinction gets lost in the common speech, however. The word bug comes from bogge, the Low German word for goblin. Clearly the word implies a pest, if not a monster.
But back to those arachnids. They are pretty much on my hate list. The purported source of my arachnophobia is a story of my young parent’s ill-fated trip to Arkansas in 1956, where upon I was traumatized by the sight of my mother being chased from the shower by a tarantula. The legend continues to describe the horrors of southern life for these innocent Michiganders: coral snakes on the patio, 300 ticks on the dog, and my favorite: baby Patty playing with a scorpion in her bath.
As symbols go, the Scorpion has a mixed message: fearless and resilient, but with a sting. I am indeed proudly November born, and astrologers have been known to apologize to me when they see my chart. Scorpio Sun, Moon, Mercury with Saturn sitting on my natal sun. Saturn, the task master. But that is a post for another day. Suffice to say that I’m well acquainted with the celestial Scorpion.
So I think the dance of fear with my arachnid cousins is significant. Scorpio is said to have a dual nature:
Scorpios are known for their impenetrable defences, and for their ability to beguile opponents into underestimating both their resilience, and the fixidity of purpose that fuels their interminable self-will. [snip]
Transcendence from the crawling scorpion to the soaring eagle, still predatory, still conveying the essence of patience and penetration, but capable of flight and height, brings together the theme of destruction and renewal …- supports the view that in this respect the eagle is representing the ‘Scorpionic myth’ of the phoenix.
So much rings true here; I have always been intense, moody, charming, resilient, determined. I have passions that run deep. Unchecked, they can get obsessive, stalker-ish. I’ve been known to get fanatic about what’s ‘true’, and I can spin mystery and imagination into new truths that I uphold as realities unseen.
I certainly rekindle myself out of the ashes of the past. My life has been a series of reinventions, and with each one I’m a bit more trusting that this isn’t a malfunction, it’s my fate, my truth. Live, soar, fall, get up, dust off and rise again.
I saw the eagle this week; they are awakening for spring as well, and this one, splendid whhite head and spread tail, was diving for a squirrel in the road. Whenever I have to ask: “Was that an eagle?” I know it isn’t, for when I see the real thing I am always stunned by how big they are. Unmistakably grand, beautiful and fierce.
Fortunately scorpions do not inhabit the forests of Southern Maryland. However, should I migrate to the south west, which on occasion I have threatened to do, I will have them to contend with. In the meantime, I have the spiders and the ticks, and most frightening of all, I have my own peculiar nature to contend with.