So a spider walks onto a train…

I had to go to Sydney today for a meeting. It’s tedious, especially when you take into account the three hours’ train travel either way. Especially when that six hours’ travel (for a three-and-a-half hour meeting) comes after a mere four hours’ sleep.

Really, there are times when having PTSD truly sucks.

Anyway, I was lucky enough to fall asleep on the train on the way down to Sydney. I think I slept for much of the journey. I certainly slept through much of Bach’s Goldberg Variations which was playing on my iPod. I woke in confusion, to find different people around me, different scenery out the window, and a thumping fear in the pit of my stomach that I’d somehow missed my stop (at which the train was scheduled to terminate; missing it was therefore highly unlikely) and would end up being late to my meeting. Once I’d woken sufficiently to pull myself together, and realised that I was still about half-an-hour from my destination, I noticed something else: a movement, a piece of fluff hanging by a thread from my hand.

I reached up to brush it carelessly away when I registered that the fluff seemed to be moving upwards, at a slow but determined pace, towards my hand. Fluff doesn’t normally behave like this, so I looked closer – only to find a tiny greenish spider calmly abseiling up a single thread of cobweb connected to the side of my finger.

I quite like spiders, so I had a closer look, and the best word I can use to describe it (especially after four hours’ sleep; I’m not particularly eloquent when in a state of sleep-deprivation) is pretty. This small arachnid was pretty. A light greenish colour, but with a yellow streak down the centre of an abdomen so small that it could have sat quite comfortably on the lid of my pen. Legs a mere hair’s-bredth, each one moving in its own small delicate arabesque as the tiny creature pulled itself gracefully up the cobweb to the sanctuary of my hand.

I let it wander around my hands for a while, passing from finger to finger, navigating its way through the fine hairs on my wrist, tickling the skin on the back of my hand. Then it decided that there was nothing more to see on these human hands, and – I’ve never actually seen a spider to this – simply bungee-jumped from the edge of one finger and onto the seat’s armrest. In the moment in which my attention was caught by something else, the minuscule soul had gone.

I don’t know what a tropical spider (as far as I have been able to work out, it was a green jumping spider – so pretty) was doing on an inter-city train. All I know is that in my fatigue, my grumbles (I hate travelling to Sydney at the best of times; in an incredibly demanding time and with a to-do list the size of a short novel, I was even less enamoured with the idea of taking a day out of my real job to attend a pointless meeting), the speck of a creature, this little piece of delicacy, this tiny fragile soul, made me smile. It made me give thanks, just briefly, for the myriad beauty of a creation that surprises me every day I remember to open my mind and heart to its wonders.

And for that I am grateful.

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