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, detached, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, seeking the spheres to connect them,
Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold,
Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul.
I would first encounter this poem in my daughter’s science book, in search of orb spider facts. But instead, my heart slows at the line “Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space.”
While I have tried many times since, I have yet to find a more apt description of this post-COVID life. Of navigating an untethered, ever-connected swirl of news and voices and opinions and angst, flitting between far-flung theories and carefully spun judgments. Looking for solid ground. A place to land for a spell. To catch our breath, or dinner.
“Surrounded, detached, in measureless oceans of space.”
Six feet apart. Enough to keep the germs – and everything else – at bay.