Not Only Cats Have Nine Lives

This is a fairy tale, not the fictional variety; this actually happened. And like a good fairy tale, it has a moral.

Published November 4, 2011 2:58 PM
3 min read


spiderthumbThis is a fairy tale, not the fictional variety; this actually happened. And like a good fairy tale, it has a moral.


By Allen Clark


This is a fairy tale, not the fictional variety; this actually happened. And like a good fairy tale, it has a moral.


In early August my wife and I were visiting our son at a house he rented in Cape Cod. Near the end of our stay, we were driving somewhere, and I happened to look out the driver’s side window and saw, to my amazement, a large reddish-brown spider in a fully developed web stretching from the large side-view mirror out to the middle of the door. We were cruising along at 45 miles per hour, and our hitchhiker was holding on for dear life.

Luckily, he (or maybe it was a she) had not attached any of the web to the window, which I had been moving up and down.


spiderI turned to tell others in the car to look. One of them said, “What spider?” Indeed, when I looked again, the web was fluttering ferociously in the wind, but its builder was nowhere to be seen.  I was sad.  I assumed he had been blown to an undeserved landing on Route 6, surely not long for this world.


For two days, we drove the car, remembering how fiercely the spider fought to hold on, missing our extra passenger. Then, on the third day, who should be back in the middle of the still almost-perfect web but you-know-who, not at all AWOL.


Over the next few days, he would appear, then disappear, then reappear, almost magically. We figured out that his real home was inside the large mirror cover. Here, when the going got too tough as the speedometer rose, he (or she) would retreat to the ideal shelter.


On our trip home, our friend came out for a short view near the Cape Cod Canal Bridge, but he then retreated and wasn’t seen again. Back home in Rye, we realized that the web had suffered a great deal from the highway winds, and perhaps the spider was gone for good. But, no, a day later, as I drove the car around Fireman’s Circle en route in to the gas station, there he was, in all his glory, in a totally restored web, to me even more glorious than the first, considering all the spider had gone through. But within a few seconds, when I looked back, he was gone. Perhaps he fell off as I turned the corner.


I asked the garage attendant to look out for him and not to hurt the web. He agreed, but he reported no sightings. Two days later, no surprise! He was back and on board for a full two months, regardless of our use of the car.

What a lesson in courage, persistence and resiliency. So, when he truly disappeared (it was now the beginning of October and I fear the gardener’s leaf blowers finally did him in), this remarkable spider is not just a memory, he offers us humans a moral: have a plan and follow it, even when the world seems to gang up on you; your life has grace and meaning if you stick to it.

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