Back to Nature (Published on - Nov. 1, 2007)
One moment in forever
Photo by Karen Mitchell Tremmel
The harvest moon shines bright among the stars in a clear autumn sky.
I just got off the phone with my Uncle Clarence. We shared our daily news with one another as he explained he’d arrived home moments earlier from a bountiful shopping spree.

“I’m a bit tired,” he expressed, “but I expect to receive about 80 visitors at my annual Halloween Party next week.”

This kind of news wouldn’t be out of the ordinary except for the fact that my remarkable Uncle is in his late 90s. He’s been my mentor, guide, father figure and inspiration since I was a wee child and still remains so. He embraces beauty and nature. He sees the world through the eyes of an artist and naturalist and lives each moment.

Down my driveway lives a cactus my uncle gifted me several years ago.

“This was a piece of the cactus your grandmother grew in her garden. It won’t grow very large, but blooms with the most incredible, bright white and yellow blossoms. She treasured it as I’m sure you will. When I saw your beautiful garden I so wanted to gift you something to remember her and me by.”

Yes, well remembered. In fact the whole neighborhood will remember the beautiful white and yellow flowers of my grandmother’s cactus blooming in late summer. The large blossoms seem to dwarf the small cactus in their size and beauty.

With gloved hands I planted the little cactus in my garden. It tucked itself obscurely in among the palms and palmettos until it realized the warm weather of its new home was, for the most part, year round. We named her Arizona. Arizona is happy. She has grown to near 5-feet tall. She is a beauty! My grandmother and uncle would be proud. But my purpose is to write about something small and wonderful that has made its home in the shelter of Arizona’s girth.

I watched a thin thread being spun from Arizona to the palms one day last spring. Interesting, I thought. Next day there was quite a well-strung structure that at first had the appearance of chaos not pattern. As time passed the network of zigzag lines began to appear as a logical pattern. I wondered how it might withstand the terrific rains and winds of late summer and fall.

The web has grown to sizable proportions, intricately laced and intertwined. Seems its owner is quite comfortable existing as a part of the local environment it calls home. In fact has faired well many a storm and many a wind. Oddly no one has chosen to dash the web with a stick or mower. This alone is just simply wonderful, but how it remains and grows in confidence and security is short of amazing.

If the spider had chosen a hidden, out of the way, habitat deep in the forest, as opposed to my suburban garden I wouldn’t find this little marvel so surprising. I’ve thought on this and hold some fear of the final outcome, but for now the life of this spider in the arms of Arizona is stable. I can’t help but wonder, could it be that humanity, in actual fact, if given a choice, would rather relish life than destroy its magnificent beauty? If so … then that means there still remains a glimmer of hope for our planet, yes? If one small kind act of absolution can be bestowed on this tiny creature living between the palms and Arizona, what else might be accomplished, one small act at a time?

How does the spider view its world? Does it wait in anticipation for final attrition or do you think it’s aware of time and space beyond its webbed world? Does it realize there are these great creatures that can reign final judgment upon its spidery world with less than a blink of an eye? Or does spider live in spider bliss of one moment to the next, simply appreciating the warmth of the sun and the winds that bring it dinner?

What wonders are beyond our imagination? Is it just here in our small community or do we recognize all humankind and all living things as one and beyond to the stars and oceans? Are we like this savvy spider unaware what exists beyond our grasp?

If we can walk upon this earth with hearts filled with beauty and live in harmony with nature we are heading in the direction of becoming part of the universe, part of the oceans ... to be among stars. I wish to weave my web next to yours like the little spider and not fear for the winters of tomorrow. I wish for us all to share life and respect life for just one moment. I wish to be a link in a chain of hands around the earth holding tight. Let us view the stars and harvest moon together as they shimmer upon the gulf waters and realize we are but one moment in forever.

Karen can be reached at

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