I ventured out of the cabin this morning to do the necessary, and was greeted by the extraordinary. In a little grove of trees along the path rested a village of webs glistening in mist and soft morning sun, the product of a long night’s work. I admired this display for a few moments and then rushed back to the cabin to retrieve my camera in an effort to capture the delicate works of art scattered about the woods. When I returned, I found that the light had shifted. The scene I had originally stumbled upon was gone. Time had marched on. The light was more harsh than it had been moments ago, the angles of the rays, altered. All at once, I felt grateful for having been witness to the display, and sad for its passing. The images I recorded were still pretty cool- rainbow spectrums of sunshine reflecting through lace webs. Strange, that a force as powerful as light had chosen to rest in such a fragile home.
Like sunshine resting on a delicate web in the forest, we are also familiar with the impermanence of our witnesses, the fragility of our keepers. Still, isn’t this what we all are seeking? To be seen, as our whole wildly imperfect selves, and to be held? Sometimes we are seen, sometimes not. Often, we are seen for our perfections. Other times, it is only our faults and failures that come into view. In either case, it pains us to be seen in fragments. And the matter of being held is just as uncertain- the web may support us or give way. But then there are the moments when our whole self is illuminated by the gaze of our witness, embraced in the arms of our keeper, and it raises us up- reminds us that all the hurt of having been mis-seen, the bruises of having fallen through the cracks, pale in comparison.
Like us, our witnesses and keepers are imperfect in their wholeness. A subtle shifting of time alters our image. The manner in which we are received hinges upon the placement of a strand of silk. But when we zoom out and expand our lens, we find that the earth will always hold us up. Even if we fall through every thread of the web, each branch of the tree, earth will hold us when we tumble into her lap. In the moments when I am able to connect with this knowing, to trust that no matter who I am and what I do there will be earth beneath me, I become a clearer witness and more grounded keeper. She teaches us to see grace in our path, to find the strength to support those who fall against us. To receive with open arms, and as time ticks us forever forward, to release our grasp, and in doing so open ourselves to the next breath.