A poetic reflection reminiscent of a conversation with a friend, Graham Duncan, on a Sunday morning some months ago as we stood on the porch of the Parish House of Epiphany Episcopal Church, Laurens, SC, mesmerized by a spider “kiting” in the breeze.
I behold the spider’s web
a work of natural art.
How, I wondered, did…could the spider
fashion this masterpiece
spread o’er so vast a space?
I considered the question
being about a matter
I simply could not…would never know.
Then, one day, quite by the Spirit of nature’s chance,
I glanced at a spider at the beginning of her work;
one end of the silken thread of what would become her web
attached to a single branch of a tree
lighter than air,
‘til the breeze blew
spinning more thread,
followed (allowed) the course of the wind
to carry her “kiting” to another branch cubits away.
And there she stayed
only for the twinkling it took
to attach the thread,
and then to repeat her course back again,
and then to and fro again and again,
and then round-and-around again and again
‘til in the when of an instant
(the present-time end of an eternity
of countless centuries of imbedded memory)
she had created her chef-d’oeuvre…
One that (at the buffeting of a greater zephyr
or the errant path of an oncoming heedless human)
leaving her to begin anew.
And so, I watched and learned these lessons from her world-wide-web:
1. To marshal the might
of the gifts and graces in my possession,
using them for the purposes for which they were made and given;
not wishing for more or less
or, as I might covet, better or best,
but rather being satisfied, aye, blessed
with what I have.
2. To wait with patience
for the movement of forces
that is, outside of mine control;
trusting that such forces exist
and when they blow
to prevail upon them
to employ with perseverance the gifts and graces I have been given.
3. To hope not, even more, to want not, still more, to believe not
in the permanence of anything I hath wrought.
For all my doing can be undone by forces –
yea, even by others’ choices –
greater than I,
for eternity is beyond the measure
of anything I can command;
for all I do command is measured,
thus, perforce excludes immortality.
4. To know, to accept that all that I have and all that I am
one day will pass,
and in such knowledge and acceptance
to do and to be
all that I am and can be in this moment’s time.