Reckless Self Abandon–Lessons from a Spider

23 09 2014

Amazing spiders! The first thing that grabs me (Ha!) is the web. I encounter, in many places and various sizes, that ornate wagon wheel web, having a center, straight spokes radiating outward and parallel strings of webbing circling evenly from the hub to the outer border.

Walking down the path to the lake in the morning, I often feel myself break through a single fiber of web, like a runner breaking through a tape at the finish line. I feel more than see it, at least at first, because it is unexpected and undetected. Then, through the glint of sun and my awareness, I see a couple more strands that I easily pass through as I walk on. The woven webs I see are inches wide, with structure and the ability to snare prey as well as stay attached in the wind. But these single fibers that go across the path are several feel long! What happened here? I imagine the spider starts out and attaches to her first point. She manufactures her filament (issuing from her body!) that is strong enough to hold her weight. (Where does she store all her materials?) Gravity guides her initial path, down, down, until she hangs suspended in mid-air. I wonder if she stops after a certain distance, regroups, rests, resets her machinery and gathers her materials for the next run. I think her next guide must be a breeze, which she must ride like a trapeze until she contacts (bangs into?) another (relatively) solid place on which to anchor the rope of her latest snare.

But in this case the snare did not materialize. As I investigate, I see there is only this single thread, which I, a much larger part of this same creation, stroll right through. This spider’s marvelous work is strong enough to stretch and hold me a moment before my effortless break of her filament.

What happened here? All that work and no food to come of it? Why? How?

IMG_1395I like to imagine that she eventually succeeded in catching her food and enjoying her hard-earned meal. I know she found at least one more solid anchor-spot, because that filament had stretched tautly across the path I walked. The web-snares I see all about give me hope maybe her third attachment was a little closer than the second and that she succeeded in her web-building from that point on. I’ll never know. But there is much I did observe, and do know, which is one reason why I call her ‘marvelous’. (I’ll share another reason soon…)

This creature set out from a single anchor point, doing what she was created to do, spinning that fiber. No GPS, no measuring out the area, calculating supplies, seeing her second anchor-point. That’s not her way. She attaches to one point, then spins, and spins, literally hanging by a thread, awaiting the unseen forces that will empower and guide the next steps in her journey. I imagine she is buffeted by the breeze, or even the wind. Does she hope I won’t come along and, well, do what I just did before? Can she and her web withstand the rain? Does she drop down to an anchor point below? How far does she have to spin and dangle before that happens?

I don’t think she can see the entire web plan; she does not know where this web-string will take her, yet she spins and swings, soaring, yet anchored securely, until her next step is revealed.

Christians, Jews and Muslims believe in one God. Many say, “A higher power”. I have a Single Anchor in whom I trust. I wonder if I ever can aspire to launch forth from that single anchor, entrusting my life to its hold, with such reckless abandon. Even joy? I wonder if I can spin and spin and work and do what I’m here to do as best I know it, even if I’m swaying in the breeze or cut down, until the next step becomes apparent and I can look forward to sustenance in the near future. It might be more fun and less worrisome, just spinning away confidently with reckless abandon…

 

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Wind Chimes

6 09 2013

Well, I sure don’t feel very confident in producing this blog, as you handful who are reading it know :-). But I had an aha! moment recently sitting on my back deck overlooking the beautiful condo parking lot…

(It’s not that bad–we live next to a park. If I face to the left, I have trees, grass and the sound of kids playing. If I stand up to look at more of the park, I have a gigantic maple tree that gives shade to the benches below all spring and summer, and in the fall, the MOST blazing show of red in town!)

There are flower boxes perched on the railings, with deck 2happy geraniums and trailing vinca vines which sway with the breeze. I recently purchased a climbing black-eyed susan, which grows with gusto and really enhances onecorner of our little outdoor space. There are          also two tall plant hooks which I’ve attached to the corners of the deck. Some years they have held hanging baskets. This year a wind chime my dad made for me hangs on the right side, while the left side just stands in a silent swirl.

In our neck of the woods, er, city, there have been some mighty strong thunderstorms lately, as well as significant winds warning of their approaching forces. Since one must be considerate of one’s neighbors, I had hung the center ringer on the railing so it would not hit the chimes so forcefully and often, thereby creating what many would call noise as opposed to the lovelier…chimes.

This morning, however, provided me a lovely gentle breeze by which to sip coffee and read and think and daydream. I noticed the chimes simply hanging, not chiming, because the ringer was off to the side,moored upon the deck railing. I released it and it played for me. Long chime, short chime, low note, high note, enhancing my morning with its music, lilting and swaying, rapid chords and single, varying notes, louder, softer as the breeze nudged the center line and its tone striker, a white plastic teardrop shaped oval, lovingly sawed from a template by daddy.

photoThe chiming enhanced my day. It inspired and motivated me. There may have been a few other people nearby within earshot, maybe fewer who noticed, maybe a couple who also savored the music. This music seemed a concert for one–ME! The chime itself is not a lovely shiny copper one with varnished cherry wood to suspend it–it is metal conduit, hardware store chain and the aforementioned plastic. BUT, dad had cut the 5 chime lengths to precisely to be harmonious together and to resonate with a pure clear sound. The plastic teardrop is the perfect striker. More importantly, I love it!

I am like the wind chime. This blog is subject to my discipline, setting aside the time, sitting down and writing, choosing photos, posting. The wind chime cannot make its music unless the center is free to be moved by the wind. As long as it hangs in the center where it is needed to swing freely, it will not play, and nobody will hear the music.

You are like the wind chime, cut specially to sing a certain song, hung in the place where your music is available to ennoble and inspire those who can hear and take notice of it. Provided your center has been released and is free to be moved by the breeze, you can allow yourself to make the never-to-be repeated unique-for-the-moment song sent out.





One by One

15 07 2013

IMG_0387 We picked 10 pounds of strawberries Friday.  The shiny-bright  red berries illuminated by the sun and contrasting with their umbrella-like leaves are the first to catch our eyes.  Then, if you know to lift a stem, you can often strike the treasure of 3 or more ripe berries at its tip.  I tasted several, I confess.  Their sun-warmed sweetness made me “mmmmm” with satisfaction.

“Taste and see that the Lord is good!”

As the large flat filled and I stretched my shoulders, I kept reminding myself that part of the picking is the processing.  I planned to use some for my first attempt at jelly, some for freezing (save a package for Lois), some for fresh on our ice cream and cereal and to eat out of hand.  After we got home, I put off the processing job until I had rested from the labor of picking.

OK—paring knife, LARGE box of strawberries, BIG colander, begin.  One.  Two.  Three…one hundred.  A small mound occupied about a third of the colander.  Rinse well.  Pour onto cookie sheet.  Repeat.  One, two, three, two hundred.  Rinse.  Pour.  Repeat.  Cookie sheet filled.  Put in freezer.  Pan number two.  One, two, three…It wasn’t unpleasant or tiring—it felt rather rewarding, actually.  Another step closer to fresh, perfect berries, ready to eat.  Why was I counting?  At first I was curious.  I wanted to get a sense of how many berries were in 10 pounds.  It kept me focused.  I was encouraged by my progress.

I couldn’t trim the tops of even two berries at a time.  Each strawberry required singly picking it up, trimming off the green leafy stem and rinsingIMG_0939 off any dirt.  Some, large, some small, some already trimmed—yay!  One by one I continued, for over an hour, until they were all clean and trimmed.  I froze 12 cups.  What remained were red fingertips, a feeling of satisfaction, and anticipation of devouring the huge bowl of fresh strawberries in front of me!  Which I’d picked trimmed and washed—one by one.

We also had summer sweet corn for dinner.  Did you know that each one of those pesky silks we remove is attached to an individual kernel of corn?  (I sometimes study it on my plate to verify this, but usually I’m impatient to shuck the corn, or to begin eating it.)

The eagle, when she fishes, circles over the lake from above the trees, using her keen eyesight to locate her dinner.  She swoops and grabs one smallish fish (I doubt the larger ones come near the surface too often) and flies with it back to her nest to feed her young, pulling it apart piece by piece for their small beaks.  She flies off again to catch one fish.  Again.  Until all are fed.

Sometimes I imagine when the leaves falling in autumn the Creator taps them one by one—“Your turn.  Now you…”

I think we are cared for in this same way as well.  Uniquely.  According to our needs.  To grow and become (eventually) uniquely perfect—sweet and whole and complete.  I have a very hard time grasping that I could be that worthy of God’s attention!  Yet, here it is in the rhythms of nature.  One can also find affirmation of such attention in Biblical passages.  No cookie cutter human beings or spiritual relationships here—everyone has their own time, their own path.  You, dear friend, are a carefully nurtured one and only creation!

He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them.  Ps. 147:4

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent ? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.  Mt. 10:29

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Mt. 10:30

Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life ; and man became a living being.  Gen. 2:7

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