A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d, where on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;
Mark’d how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;
Ever unreeling them–ever tirelessly speeding them.
And you, O my Soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, –seeking the spheres, to connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form’d–till the ductile anchor hold;
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.
-Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
I almost just want to say . . . “nuf said,” as this poem perfectly captures both the photo and my own journey right now, but . . . I can’t.
My daughter took this shot on our vacation to the California coast and the Redwood Forests last week. I hadn’t seen the shot until I uploaded the pics off the camera when we got home. Not only is it an amazing photograph (at least to me – her completely unbiased mom), it reminded me of Walt Whitman’s poem, “A Patient, Noiseless Spider.” I almost cried when I re-read the poem. I hadn’t read it for years, but as soon as I saw the photo, I remembered the last line of the poem.
It’s interesting how our memories work. Right now, this poem has far more meaning to me than it did the first time I read it as an undergrad twenty some years ago, and some little part of my brain remembered it, dredged it up for me to re-read when it actually means something to me. I had it all figured out then. Now? Not so much.
Unlike the spider, I am not so patient or quiet, despite my best efforts.
Like the spider, I too am ever unreeling and speeding out threads, “musing, venturing, throwing – seeking,” praying that they catch, connecting me to my purpose here is on this earth.
I am on the right path. I am writing, I am creating. I am exploring, spinning threads, and I will keep throwing them out there until I have created something as lovely as this web in the sunlight. And maybe, just maybe, somebody else will think so too.