This morning I walked the Santa Fe Trace trail behind my sister’s house, armed with one of my father’s canes. I took it not to lean on but to use as a weapon against any cobwebs that might ensnare me.

I must have torn down 5 cobwebs on a trail about two blocks in length through a remnant forest. Maybe more. I scared away a fawn, and I puzzled over the call of a bird that might have been a woodpecker, but what I remember was the threat of cobwebs: wielding the cane horizontally and vertically across the path to clear the webs and yet still lurching to a stop when a spider in its intricate web entered my peripheral vision.

And I thought, I’m glad there is no one else on this path, watching me wave this cane around as if it were an overgrown dowsing rod. I have become such a chicken.

Truth be told, I’m less afraid of spiders than I used to be. Occasionally I even spare the ones in my house, in my space; the small ones. Those outside, in their space, I let alone.

But that doesn’t mean I want to walk into their webs.

There is more life east of the 100th meridian. More trees, the street canopy of my childhood; more bugs; definitely more humidity. It’s been about 18 years since I spent a summer in the Midwest.

And I thought, My life in Colorado is so sanitized.

Perhaps this is the visit of revelations, or at least the visit of shrugging at uncomfortable truths.

That my father can’t take care of himself anymore and doesn’t want to admit it. And I do so wish to indulge him because I’m used to having him be stronger.

That being the baby of my family has made my life easier. Living in another state, I don’t have to deal with my father’s decline on a daily or weekly basis. I can swoop in, feel useful, and go home. Must be nice, eh?

So why does it cause me so much anxiety?

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  1. Betsy Dornbusch August 16, 2010 at 5:09 am - Reply

    I’m sorry to hear about your Dad. Todd told me that’s why you went back. It is really really an anxious thing! Spiders certainly don’t help.

    The other day Gracie came in to tell me there was a spider in the basement. And I said, “Are you telling the right parent?” And she smiled and ran off to get her dad.


  2. Beth Partin August 17, 2010 at 10:09 am - Reply

    He’s having a difficult time of it, after having lived in his house for 37 years. I brought that up to him, which I think helped. At least this way he gets to meet more people.