Blogs » J.Q. Tomanek of Victoria » Itsy Bitsy Spider


You sang this to your children when they were too young to understand it, but it is well worth revisiting from time to time.

Firstly, the spider is not a normal spider. It is itsy-bitsy; that is small, tiny, miniscule, miniature, micro, or little-bitty. This atomic spider does what many people do, they climb. All of life we are climbing. We climb out into the world through the womb and never stop when we get out. Sometimes it is mole hills, sometimes it is Everest, but one thing is for sure, the spider never makes Everest out of the mole hills. That minikin is equipped with the right tools to climb; he has been given what he needs to accomplish what he needs to do.

This spider’s climb is up. Mr. Eight Legs doesn’t go down until a force bigger than he brings him down. As such, in life growth is typically seen as up, that is why we tell the Class Clown to “grow up.” We expect our vegetables to find their way out of the ground. Like all of life, the climb up is typically difficult and hard and so are water spouts.

That small spider not only has to climb up, but he is also met with resistance from outside, in his case falling water. The water knocks him down to the ground. The ground, long understood in the human spirit, is the image of humility. Dante shows this in “Purgatorio” when the prideful souls on the first cornice carry large stones to keep their heads lowly. The fall humbles spider, it brings him lower or grounds him.

But this fall doesn’t destroy him. He is not annihilated by the rushing water. He doesn’t drown. He doesn’t whine, complain, point, or blame. He does what all heroes do, he gets back up and “crawls up the spout again.”