I saw big bunches of marigolds at the Farmers’ Market flower seller yesterday and remembered that El Dia de los Muertos is approaching. I wanted to buy an armful of them, but instead bought practical things like onions and apples and cucumbers.
I got up extra early this morning, wanting to spend my daylight savings hour doing something memorable. So I greeted the sun in a quiet house while reading poetry. The poem below reminded me of my friend Alana, who dressed as a spider deity for Halloween. She told us that she keeps a strand of spiders on her wall year-round–they remind her that one’s daily work is to spin a web, even knowing that it will probably be destroyed, but to get up each morning and continue spinning anyways.
At our little Halloween gathering we did brief tarot readings of each attendee. Some of the cards were affirming, promising prosperity and success. Some were sobering reminders of one’s priorities (dissertations, anyone?). I pulled the Three of Swords, which is not a happy card–signaling betrayal and pain like a stab in the heart. But as soon as I saw it I was delighted and knew it was mine. It felt right to have an open wound acknowledged, to speak of my hurting.
A Noiseless Patient Spider
by Walt Whitman
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
Till the bridge you will need, be form’d–till the ductile anchor
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.
I think my soul is truly surrounded in measureless oceans of space. That phrase captures so much of what I feel and where I am. Thank you, Walt.