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My life with spiders

Lately I’ve felt that familiar anxious feeling, the one that comes each year with the onset of spring. To hurry up and get on top of things before summer hits and you’re under siege again. The cicadas are back, baby ants are hatching and spiders are busy making their webs with increased vigour. The natural world is stirring from its winter hibernation. My home, like the forests and river valley that surround me, has its own tiny ecosystem with its own seasonal ebbs and flows.

I’ve come to realise that the arrival of these little creatures is a reminder to surrender to the things I can’t control. To accept that by choosing to live within nature I must adapt to my surroundings and not the other way around. I am the introduced species here after all. I’m resisting the urge to fight this invasion because like most things in life, its about balance, finding that elusive sweet spot. 

I laugh when I think of our first winter here. We kicked back and relished that we wouldn’t have to mow again until spring. New projects could wait until the weather warmed up. We quickly learned to be more productive. Blessed with above average rainfall and plenty of sunshine, anything and everything grows here, often overnight! Summer is all about keeping the jungle from the door, which leaves no time for anything else. Inside the house, its spiders, ants and other creepy crawly creatures. They have no boundaries, our home is their home.

I was determined to keep these little folk at bay, naturally of course, but was soon overwhelmed by the impossible task I’d set myself. On reflection, trying to control my surroundings was a means for me to feel in control of the rollercoaster we’d jumped on when we moved here. The perfectionist in me wanted to take command of my situation, to get on top of things. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work to be done on a farm, joy gradually seeps away leaving only hard slog. Letting go of the unattainable illusion of having everything under control has been such an immense relief. My daily chores, mundane as they are at times, are much more enjoyable. This year I’m determined not to let the weight of the whole suffocate me. I’m keeping things simple, slowing down, taking one small step at a time. Multitasking really is the thief of joy.

This will be our fifth summer on the farm and we know much more what to expect. Now we try to  synchronise our activities with the seasons to be better prepared for the opportunies and challenges that arise with each of them. We’re gaining a deeper understanding of the country we reside on and our place in its complex and delicate ecosystem.

This post could have had a number of other titles like “How I stopped being a clean freak’ or ‘Less slog, more joy” but I chose to indulge my love of symbolism because the spider and it’s web represent so much of what I’ve learned on this tree change journey. “Our hapless entanglements in misunderstood circumstances are the stuff of the spider”, not unlike me in the early days here, trying desperately to understand my place in my new world.  Despite being woven of strong silk, webs can disappear as quickly as they appear, but work always begins anew. To me, the spider forever spinning symbolises patience, perseverance and the impermanence of things. That life is a never-ending eb and flow.  That my home has cobwebs but my heart is full.






    • Amanda Cooke says

      Thanks for taking the time to read it Sam. Glad you enjoyed it! x

  1. Klieno says

    This is great. And you coming out w the blog confessions has chasllenged my views. I never read blogs. How do I sign up!

    • Amanda Cooke says

      Thanks so much for your support Shannon! If you go to my homepage, in the column on the right hand side is a subscribe button, type in your email and then press subscribe. x Amanda

  2. Robyn says

    ♡ “… her mother was not unlike a spider, a repairer of broken things. If you bash into the web of a spider she doesn’t get mad. She weaves and she repairs it.” Cloth Lullaby – The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois words by Amy Novesky, pictures by Isabelle Arsenault

    • Amanda Cooke says

      Wow, how beautiful Robyn. I must get a hold of that! And thanks for taking the time to read and connect. x

  3. Marg says

    Wonderful, Amanda! I can relate to this. Although, we miss you at ceramics x
    Beautifully written

    • Amanda Cooke says

      Marg, thank you for reading and beautiful comments. I hoped it would resonate with other valley folk. x

  4. Jacqueline says

    Mooi geschreven Amanda en stoer dat je het doet! X

  5. Beth says

    Thanks for sharing Amanda. I love your insightfulness and honesty.

    • Amanda Cooke says

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read it and for your kind feedback. I’m glad you enjoyed it! x

  6. Mary Toia says

    Well done Amanda, I enjoyed reading your blog, so Buddhist to go with the flow, recognise the impermanence of life and view it with equanimity. Carry on being awesome.

    • Amanda Cooke says

      Thanks Mary, you’re very kind! Thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed it. xxx

  7. Neil Cooke says

    Beautiful and brilliant Amanda, and a joy to read Love Dad

  8. Maxine Cooke says

    Your blossoming wisdom shines through your most beautiful expressions from deep in your soul. How true “Multitasking…the thief of joy.” love mum xoxo

    • Amanda Cooke says

      Thanks Mum, the soul, that’s where all the best material comes from isn’t it. Love you. xxx

  9. Susie says

    Enjoying this very much Amanda – hope you keep writing. Xxx

  10. Kareena Hodgson says

    Love it cookie. X I read charlottes web 11 times as a kid. Over and over. Only one book. Loved it so.
    So I relate to the web. Wonderful read. Sign me up. ❤️

    • Amanda Cooke says

      Thanks Kareena! I loved Charlotte’s Web too. So nice we get to delve back into these beautiful stories again as parents.x

  11. Eva Joan says

    yuuuummmm! that’s a great reminder indeed – I can definitely relate to the control freak thing and that multi tasking is a joy murderer!!… I love reading you – i miss the valley and all you guys very much, this gives me a little bit of flavours from home – thank you Amanda <3

    • Amanda Cooke says

      Hello lovelyEva! Thanks for reading and I love reading and seeing what you girls are up to too. xxx

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