One Spider at a Time

We lead busy lives at the Seed.  Being responsible for keeping children safe and happy all day long, five days a week, is a daunting task.  Ensuring they are meaningfully engaged and creatively inspired adds another layer to the details we each attend to on a daily basis.  A school has many moving parts that require constant monitoring.  It would be easy to overlook a spider.

This morning I stepped onto the toddler playground and noticed a plastic yellow colander on the sidewalk, upside down on two pieces of card stock.  A couple teachers were nearby and I inquired about it.  One teacher reported that they’d discovered a wolf spider and had contained it under the colander. I could see its long grey legs through the holes.  They were considering how to relocate it when I walked up.  A plastic lid was resting on the nearby cabinet, so I slid it under the card stock and offered to handle the relocation procedure.  No one resisted my offer.

Carrying it across the hot parking lot, I found a perfect spot adjacent to the golf course on Vineyard.  It was a shady area under a tree with dirt and wood chips.  When I turned over the colander, the spider seemed unsure about what was going on.  It stayed on the yellow surface, even when I tried to gently encourage it to escape.  Then all of a sudden, it must have made the connection.  Realizing freedom was available, the wolf spider scurried up the side and ran off through the wood chips.  It was a beautiful moment to witness.

In certain native mythologies, the spider is a symbol of creativity.  How fitting that one would show up during our summer art camp.  It also seems appropriate that, during these summer days of helping the earth by making art with materials that would typically become trash, there are teachers paying close enough attention to notice a spider that needed to be moved to a safer place.  It’s a small thing, saving one spider at a time, yet it speaks loudly about the values we’re trying to pass on to children.  As Malcolm Gladwell writes in Outliers:  The Story of Success, “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good.  It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”  It’s encouraging to know this kind of practice is alive and well at the Seed.  It’s these mostly unnoticed acts that are changing our world, by people who do what they do because it’s the right thing, no matter how insignificant they may seem.