Get a Little Closer to It

This afternoon, a treacherous and enormous–and most likely poisonous–spider casts a terrible shadow onto the drapes. From my vantage point, I see a crawling terror the size of my fist.

(Cue horror movie music in the background as I tiptoe slowly to the window.)

When I pull back the curtain, I find a tiny little spider. It’s a little jumper spider.

Completely harmless.

I use my phone to zoom in on him. He’s furry. He has bulging eyes. He has strange green and white markings. I observe him for a good while, nearly nose to nose (spiders don’t actually have noses; they breathe through a slit in their abdomen!).

I think again about all the things I first fear. I remember that when we pull back the curtain, examine the terrible thing, and stand nose to nose to it, it often transforms before our eyes into something interesting (and completely harmless).

We study the thing we fear and get even closer to it. Behold, we see it anew, and suddenly, it no longer terrifies.

That thing you fear only casts a big shadow. In reality, it’s a small thing.

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  1. Thank you for this reminder! I discovered your blog as I was looking through writing curriculum (I teach 7th grade writing, alongside 3rd-6th grade Latin), and I have so enjoyed the several entries I've read. Though I, too, love vivid verbs, my favorite words remain -ous adjectives: rapacious, serendipitous, loquacious, lugubrious. Best verb ever, especially for a 1st year Latin student: defenestrate.