First, I’d like to say thanks to Alis and Stephanie for letting me hang out here with them. I’ve loved TB’sA since the first time I laid eyes on it. As a mother to two little boys myself I’ve found their posts so inspiring for our own adventures. Thank you, Alis and Stephanie!
Second, allow me to introduce myself. I was born and raised in Texas, but spent a good long time in Arizona. I’ve also lived in Mexico, Spain, Japan and now Australia. Yes, I’m a bit of a wanderer, but each place I have lived I truly felt I could call home for one simple reason. I always felt connected to the natural environment around me. Whether I was hiking in the Pyrenees finding myself suddenly surrounded by bellowing sheep or bowing before a Shinto shrine in a sacred, primeval forest in Japan or climbing the steep steps under a fierce Aztec sun at Teotihuacan, there was always a moment, a brief pause of acknowledgement that, yes, I am surely home.
And now my adventure continues here “down unda” with my partner Andrew and our two little boys. We moved to Melbourne four months ago from Tokyo and although we love it here, we do miss Japan. We lived a total of nine years there, two of which were spent traipsing around the forests of western Tokyo. Yes! Even Tokyo has wild, natural beauty to offer. Oh the juicy secrets we unearthed while threading our way through the trees of Tama. Truth be told, we all left small pieces of ourselves back there in those dark and dreamy forests. There’s no rule that says we have to let go anyway, is there? I reckon that’s the real joy of traveling. The act of leaving bits of yourself strewn across the globe, little fragments that continue on in some small way, still deeply connected to that place and that moment in time. Is that what they call surrender? In any case, I’m glad I could pass it along to my boys.
But I do believe I promised you spiders, and mate, seriously, we’ve got spiders down here! Alis wrote a lovely post a while back about a certain black widow at her place and how, instead of eliminating the potentially dangerous insect, she began teaching Seth the gentlemanly art of respect. Down here we have our own version of the black widow and it’s called a redback. The two are cousins and while there are many similarities, there are also many interesting differences. Although both are venomous, the redback’s bite is considered a bit more dangerous. Both are really secretive and have no interest in humans whatsoever and if you happen upon a redback in her web she’ll most likely curl her tiny legs and play dead. They tend to make their living near metal, glass or anything else that conducts heat. Last week I found one in a box of jars (for canning) that had been left outside for a few days. She played dead which made it very easy for me to capture and relocate her to the woodpile at the back of the garden.
Like Alis, I’m taking this opportunity to teach my boys about respecting the natural world and all that’s in it. Many people here kill redbacks on sight and there is a part of me that understands why. They are potentially dangerous, especially to small children. And I won’t lie, everytime I find one in the garden I’m a bundle of nerves and the thought, “you could just kill it” does cross my mind, but I take a moment and remind myself why I don’t, why I shouldn’t. I believe it could be as simple as this, what do i want to pass on to my boys? Respect? Connection? Knowledge? Or fear?