comes out only
for me who won’t kill him
scampers across the cold floor, stops
I wrote that cinquain after my nightly visit from a spider recently. A couple of days later my mom stayed up un-characteristically late. The spider came out for his visit. And she stomped it.
I felt sad but then next night, out came his sister. Mom doesn’t know about her yet and I won’t be telling.
The whole thing made me think about the effect fear has on people.
My dad never saw a spider or snake that scared him. He would trap them and relocate them for my mom’s sake. He taught us the value of snakes, especially the snakes who kill the poisonous snakes and keep the rodent population down.
For my mom the only good spider is a dead spider, the only good snake is a dead snake.
My dad was raised by country people who weren’t afraid of anything much. His world was poverty but not debilitating poverty because his dad was a sharecropper who also raised livestock. And his mom was well versed in the arts of preserving food. They always had food. They frequently fed others. Back in a day when women didn’t work much outside the home, there were several boys in the family to work and to bring home money.
My mom was raised by her mom who was a small town girl, afraid of everything. Mom's dad was mostly absent and when he was around it wasn’t pretty. There were 7 girls and only one boy and very little food.
My father had a way of knowing the world was a safe place for him. (It would have been different if he wasn’t a straight, white male, but that’s a whole nother story.)
My mother is still certain the world is not safe and mostly out to get her.
If my dad had seen the spider he would have said – “It won’t hurt you. It’s just an old wood spider.”
My mom stomped it.
It makes you see everything as a threat that must be annihilated.
I have some of both my parents in me. Having seen the little box my mother’s fears keep her in, I try to follow my father and make decisions believing the world is a safe place.
Not sure how successful I am.
What about you? Do you tend to be led by fear of the world or confidence in it?