How strange that the unusual life here so quickly becomes regular. I get up. I eat breakfast. I go to work. I return home for lunch. I go out to work. I come home for dinner. I go to sleep. Anyone’s day can be summed into simplicities and necessities. Sometimes I forget that when I look up in my room there is a spider the size of my hand hanging between the ceiling and the divider we call the wall of my room. It’s a large spider.
Imagine a spider the size of about your hand. The usual business on your typical spider: a little hairy, eight legs, cephalothorax and abdomen, spider web, nothing particularly fancy about that. But the longer I look at it the more I see. The way it is colored a deadly black. The kind of black that makes you forget what color was, like a black hole sitting atop a spider’s burning malevolence for anything living. Oh, and then there are the splashes of blood red on its body. It’s a strange thing when you think you’re about to fall into the emptiness that is this spider’s soul when suddenly you see the blood of it’s many victims. The thing that has amazed me most about this spider is the size of its web. I would be willing to say it spans about nine feet with the spider contentedly cushioning itself in the middle of its web, still as death. I love when the wind blows through our house and shakes his web, suddenly he discontentedly claws and scratches at his web, as if irritated it dare move without the notice of newfound prey. I lie below on the flat foam and back breaking boards of my bed, but above me, above me… I am happy below the spider, but what makes me happiest about being below the spider is that the spider is not with me. The fact that he could leap at a moments notice to his ever so courageous prey below is more than slightly disconcerting. I look up at the spider. From my perspective he lies in the middle of not only his web, but our skylight as well. A light shines around him as if he were on fire.
If you cannot recall, let’s go over the details on the specifics of this spider. Deadly black, splashes of blood red cover his body, from my perspective he could be the size of a small beaver, (who knows?) lurking above waiting for his chance to strike, and very possibly literally on fire. But I may be looking into things a bit too much.
The problem however is the fact that often I forget to do this. My walk becomes too normal. My bedroom too boring. My life too life-like.
But a part of me wonders if that isn’t the whole reason that I came to Madagascar. To understand that even a world apart from home (literally), life remains the same. It doesn’t particularly have to be boring but it does need to become, if not normal, life-like. Yes, I can walk 20 minutes and reach the ocean. Yes, I can walk out of my door, see a ripe bunch of bananas and simply pluck one off if I so desire. Yes, I can communicate with people who speak an entirely different language than me. But perhaps the fact that it becomes normal for me means that my life is changing. My view of what life is, is changing. But, of course, I still desire for every moment to remain special.
Thus I walk out my door, smile at the sun, which is already burning the tip of my nose, and start on my way. The walk may become “normal,” but every moment remains special for some reason. It is this balance of life-likeness and extraordinary moments that keep me standing on the edge of sanity and overwhelming ecstaticsism. One moment I’m bored out of my mind, and the next I find my self rapt with such enthusiasm at my situation that I can barely stand to continue my walk and nearly throw myself onto the ground just to fully take in the moment. But then my mind wanders to the spider.
It’s as if he’s woven a web through my mind, allowing me to get stuck in moments and feel the excitement and fear that comes with getting stuck in a spider’s web of time, but equally often I find myself sliding through a hole, a fly greased with massive amounts of menaka (oil), and beurre (butter), being free to simply live without being caught in the galvanizing touch of the spiders web. It shocks me alive, but I’m equally afraid that one touch might be my electric chair. This is what keeps me moving, but it’s also what keeps me stopping.