Remember back when Guitarist Scott Frey and I recorded “Footprints”? Well, we’ve done it again! This time we went the straight up folk route with “Garden Spider.” Click the player below to hear it for yourself:
cello/vocals: Pippa Hoover guitar/engineering: Scott Frey
I must confess, “Garden Spider” is one of my favorites out of all the songs I’ve written. And it’s not just because of the cheery melody or because I get to sing about cute garden bugs. “Garden Spider” has a deeper message that gives me comfort anytime I start feeling like I’m stuck, unproductive, or just generally failing at life.
The song juxtaposes the story of the spider, told in the verses, with the story of the worms, heard in the refrain.
The spider starts small (though from a position of privilege – she is a spider, after all), and works with care, purpose, and intelligence. She creates beauty and gains power and success. She doesn’t worry much about the means to her ends – she has no qualms about eating the smaller garden creatures to become who she wants to be.
The worms, on the other hand, are much more humble. Throughout the song they work diligently at the same menial task, never striving to change their world or their position. Though they are neither beautiful or glorified, their work is vitally important to the garden ecosystem.
The question is, who is the better role model, the spider, or the worm?
And the answer is neither. The spider gets eaten by a blue jay, and the worms, though they survive through the end of the song, will undoubtedly be eaten by a robin. Spider or worm, the outcome is the same.
The lesson I take, then, is that it doesn’t matter whether you are creative, driven, and ambitious, or passive, humble and content. It doesn’t matter if you do great, spectacular things or mundane and underappreciated things. Everyone comes to the same end, so the pressure is off and you can be yourself. Though it’s a morbid thought, it makes me feel better.
I think all of us feel guilty at times for not being who we think we should be. I know I feel like a failure for not being more spider-like: for not making the money I’d like to make, for not making my creative dreams realities (I’m still working on that first album …), for watching TV for a few hours when I should be working on something productive.
But whenever I have those thoughts, I remind myself that it doesn’t matter. It’s ok to be a spider or a worm or whatever garden creature you happen to be. Nobody comes out ahead in the end.
So next time you’re worried that you’re not working hard enough, accomplishing enough, or being who you wish you could be, listen to “Garden Spider.” It just might lift your spirits.
Now I’m curious – do you identify more with the spider or the worm? (I’m a spider myself, but I’m still a little one!) Leave your answer in the comments.