Creeks and Spiders
by Justine Willis Toms
My mind has
been tweaked this week. I had an intuition that it would
be. Several events conspired and converged urging me to
move over a few branches and view the world from a
different perch. The first event was receiving this
beautiful poem from a friend.
I've decided to make up my mind
about nothing, to assume the water mask,
to finish my life disguised as a creek,
an eddy, joining at night the full,
sweet flow, to absorb the sky,
to swallow the heat and cold, the moon
and the stars, to swallow myself
in ceaseless flow.
- Jim Harrison, Cabin Poem
My whole body felt washed by the image of being that
creek, tumbling and splashing, meandering, reflecting,
moving, absorbing, "swallowing heat and cold,"
flowing without pause.
Water embodies the great intention to rejoin with
Mother Ocean. Nothing, nothing will stop it in
this ceaseless pursuit. It may take eons to accomplish
this feat; it may have to wear down monumental rocks,
chisel profound canyons, seep through oozy swamps, but
reunite it surely will. In the end it always reaches its
heart's desire and that is to rest in the bosom of the
salty sea of Mother.
With the Harrison poem continuing to work on the
inner core of my being, I was tweaked again. It happened
when I was reading "Deadly Silk: The Spider's
Web" by Richard Conniff in the August 2001 issue of
National Geographic Magazine. It is a fascinating
article and I recommend it. I was riveted to read about
a spider of the Wendilgarda genus no bigger than a
freckle. Conniff describes it thusly, "[It] strings
a sort of tightrope across a stream and 'glues' its web
to running water. . . [there were] 13 separate [web]
lines down to the surface, like the leaders on a
fisherman's trotline. The riffle of the stream kept the
end of each line skating back and forth in search of
water striders." This tiny creature attaches its
silk thread to running water. Conniff comments,
"something humans cannot achieve with our best
This minute creature attaching itself to the reckless
current has been a reoccurring image in my mind's eye.
How does it calculate the faithful degree of flexibility
to stay connected, anchored if you will, yet not be
washed away or drown by the stream's unremitting
intention to flow to the sea? How do I embrace the
stream, while not becoming the stream itself? How may I
feel the stream fully, this stream of goodness, as well
as terror, of love and despair, compassion and fear
while continuing to "swallow myself in ceaseless
flow?" How may I stay webbed in the fullness of
life as a flowing stream?
© Copyright 2002 Justine Willis Toms. All Rights Reserved.
Justine Willis Toms is
Co-Founder of New Dimensions Broadcasting Network and
New Dimensions Radio and co-author with her husband
Michael Toms of True Work: Doing What You Love and
Loving What You Do.