The Fragile Connection We Make

“All lives are made.

In these small hours.

These little wonders.

These twists and turns of fate.”

“Small Wonders” Rob Thomas

For the last eighteen months, I feel at times like I live within miniscule hours. Exist for these sixty minutes. The clock hands turn. Twist the hourglass. Another hour of existence. Another hour of living.

I settle into the bones of my memories. Feel them eddy around me. I sift them through my fingers. Life just keeps turning. Moving forward. Living in reverse.

The fragile connections between family and friends are glassine filaments. Slender strands wisped between myself and another. My children. My husband. My parents. My in-laws. My brother’s family. My friends. My colleagues. My students.

Ping one.

The others shudder. Ripple effects that shimmy along the threads and we all tremble in our turn.

I once felt alone on my axis. Taut in my spiral galaxy with stars cascading out from the center. But in the end, the central nebular system is still just alone.

I thought.

I felt.

But it’s not.

I’m not alone. Not like I thought I was.

I’m not writing this to create sympathy or ask for pity. Instead, I was moved by the spider web from yesterday’s post. This idea of being both alone and together. The paradox of being in a dichotomous life. My editor has created a literary magazine inspired by a quote from Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby in which Nick “…was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life…”

Note, Within and Without Literary Magazine is accepting submissions. Please click the link embedded in the title.

I am sitting in my classroom, grading, writing, listening to a television show on Netflix. I am sitting in my classroom and thinking about retiring in five years. I’m planning the lessons I will teach in the next five days. I am alone. I am surrounded.

Once more, “Small Wonders” by Rob Thomas floats through my mind. I can hear the electronic, synthesized soprano beats of the opening notes, and my emotions rise. For me, this song will always be about my Eldest child, my way of reaching through a song and offering love. Comfort. Solace. Peace. Joy.

And at times, this song also reminds me of how we are each in our own nebulas spinning inside a spiral galaxy (note, in case you can’t tell, I am no astronomer and all of my astronomic analyses are probably wrong). And as we slide past one another, a star slips our gravity. Glides into the slipstream of the passerby.

We are part and parcel of each other’s worlds.

I am reading my dear friend Robert Okaji‘s poetry again (I have linked his website in his name). In my neglect for writing, I neglected my own soul’s cultivation. I had spent eighteen months hunkered in my cocoon spun with broken-stained-glass. The colors are beautiful but warped. The edges smooth but deadly sharp.

I was within and without the world. Existing along the edges. Afraid of stepping in. And yet, the world kept stepping toward me.

My editor gave me a necklace. A mountain landscape with a mustard seed embedded inside the ridge. It is inspired by the verses: “Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.’” Matthew 17:20-21. She honored me for my love of hiking. For my faith.

And somehow, she has faith in me. Which makes me pause when I didn’t (past tense) have faith in myself.

The connections change. Realign. The connecting points fray. Snap and break. We cast out the threads again.

The wind catches the strings. Drags them into the atmosphere. Away from the one we want to reach. Maybe in the circuitous route, it will still find who we want. Or, maybe, in its amorphous way, it reaches someone else. New connections. New threads.

New watery beads on spider webs that thrum with life. That, when our world changes thrums the connections we’ve sieved out.

I hear you. I feel you. Almost like how Langston Hughes in “Theme for English B” notes how

“I guess I’m what

I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you.

hear you, hear me—we two—you, me, talk on this page.   

(I hear New York, too.) Me—who?”

Langston Hughes “Theme for English B”

I hear you, those who are in my network of fragile connections. I hear you, feel you. Deep within me. Deep within the cornices of my mind, of my soul. Within the texture of my dreams. Within the bones of my memories and the grains of my quiet hours.

Connections are fragile. I have learned this over the year. My unused contacts in my phone show this. And yet, I still keep their names for no other reason than they are the stuff of my memories. And in those quiet, small moments, I am built. I remain. I live.

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