Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Yogini vs. the Spiders

The True North Yoga studio is in the community room of a church that's been around for over a century. It's a great old building, with a stone foundation and a special energy from well-established sacred space, but it also had a few years of accumulated dust in the corners. Occassionally nobody will come for a scheduled class, so I've been using that time to clean.

One of my favorite things about the space is a wall of big windows. Since I've been burning candles and incense regularly, I have to clean the windows to combat the buildup of soot. One quiet day I grabbed the Windex and some paper towels and started to shine the glass, inside and out. I got rid of the old cobwebs and dead bugs and dirt. Pane by pane, the windows got clean.

When I opened up for my first class the next morning, the bright sunlight was streaming through the newly cleaned windows. The light made patterns on the floor and sparkled off a jumble of spider webs in one window. Wait, hadn't I just gotten rid of those? A tiny Adirondack spider had been very busy overnight. After escorting the spider outside, I grabbed the broom and took down the web. My windows were spotless again - for the moment.

It turns out the spiders were not going to be evicted without a fight. The next day I found more webs. When I swept the vestibule, there were other spiders that had to be encouraged to move on. I have nothing against spiders, in fact I love spiders for their appetite for the nasty bugs, but the webs make the space look dirty. I have tried hard to be gentle as I show them the door, practicing ahimsa, or non-violence, while I clean. Adirondack spiders, I've found, are just stubborn.

Spider relocation and web removal have become part of my weekly routine. Round after round of showing the spiders the door hasn't helped much. I might get a rest in winter, but I think, when the bell rings, it will be a draw.
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