Bird Poop on My Railing

We all know that myriad worlds–animal,insect, plant–go on beneath our notice, and it’s often only the traces that let us know that we share this space with others. Tonight as I sat outside on my rain-wet deck, I noticed that my railing is littered with bird poop. A biologist (scatologist) might be able to tell me for sure which of our backyard feathered creatures are frequenting the railing, but I can only suspect it’s sparrows, since I see them flitting around the dead branches of the wisteria vine we had to kill before it turned our deck . . . and next our crawl space . . . into our own version of Little Shop of Horrors.

Trying to take note of the little creatures that inhabit my world, I have to say that when I look out the window they are never lined up there, like birds on a wire, so I don’t know when these 100 or so little droppings got left, but clearly these birds are turning our porch into their daytime chat room. There’s nothing above the railing–no branches hanging over from a nearby tree. No, this is a new hang-out. By day when the humans are gone, little brown birds are walking or hopping up and down the railing, near enough to the bird feeders to grab a bit, litterly (!) a kind of gang plank jutting out from the wisteria trunk. A bird walk. The local bar.

Today, when Leslie and I were dropping off Brandi at her 5-acre farm near Glasgow, we strolled around and studied the end-of-season garden. A huge expanse of deeply mulched rows of end-of-season sweet potatoes and frost-blackened basil, to name just two. From afar I noticed a sea of white spider webs speckling some fall greenery. Beautiful clusters of spider homes–the only evidence of an apparent urban sprawl of arachnids….See here:

Spiderweb Clusters in Glasgow

Spiderweb Clusters in Glasgow

We didn’t see any spiders, but is anyone in doubt? A little further on, we saw a rose drenched in raindrops with a loan spider cluster . . . far enough away from the urban setting to suggest that this was a little spider suburb, or perhaps an intentional community seeking some more aesthetic location to start their own burgeoning population. Still no spiders, just the sign that we have no shortage of spiders. We talked some about how many spiders and spider webs there seem to have been this summer, from the Hunter Spider (big hairy harmless thing) that kept stringing its trap from one bush to another right in front of my doorway, turning me into a Ninja expert every morning I walked into it (thanks to Julie for the cartoon that gave me this image of myself), to the spider bites that freckle my legs and arms and neck every time I walk under a tree or across a path.
Brandi's Rose and Spider Cluster

Brandi’s Rose and Spider Cluster

They’re everywhere! The signs are everywhere: the spiders are coming. We were talking about who our spirit animals are and how you are to know. Is it because they come to you when you don’t expect them? In your dreams or as you’re sitting and meditating in some new place, away from home, unprepared for the visitation? Spiders are weavers, storytellers.

I found this about the GBH: “Heron links two worlds: the waters of life—the Unconscious, and the air—the realm of the conscious mind. He feeds on fishes, which symbolize the treasures of the Unconscious mind: spiritual nourishment for the Seeker. Yet he is also a creature of the Earth, so he is a grounding influence for people who spend too much time in their minds and who are called to ‘fish’ in the waters of the unconscious.” On this website:

I wrote about this in my “Meditation and the Great Blue Heron” because that first visitation had a profound effect on me–that’s why I was stunned when I opened my eyes to see another nearby the other day when visiting Paynes Prairie. I have dreamed about bears–seems obvious that the fact of their hibernation means they symbolize the deep unconscious, the transformative power of going within and emerging after a time.

Leslie said, “If spiders are my spirit animal, then I feel bad for killing them!” Well, yes, one never knows. (I’d hate to think what a fly or a cockroach mean.) I do know that a spider is a wonderful creature and we do well to appreciate it. I’m just glad spiders don’t leave poop along my railing. I like it that their “evidence” is their houses, their kitchen tables. And that those webs let the rain linger before trickling down into the deep unknown.

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