this fragile web: why every moment matters

My tiny rural town of about 65 people
has been beset with death, illness, and injury lately.
One after another, a generation of elders
is passing or rapidly declining. Several receive in-home support
from a hospice/palliative care group; two family members with MS
are in need of additional home support. A dear friend of mine in her 40s —
who assists others with cleaning and cooking — remains comatose
at a hospital 140 miles away, receiving dialysis and plasma replacements
in a closely-watched critical situation.
On the home front, a shaken yet resilient community
pulls together to fill the gaps left by the temporary or permanent absence
of our neighbors, family, and friends. There are so very few of us here,
and even a single cracked or broken link ripples out and
inevitably touches everyone. Hence, this poem.

it is such a delicate configuration,
this gossamer in which we place our hopes and dreams

and so it is wise never to squander gifts given,
tender mercies received,
for who can say when the door to grace will slide slowly shut
when the wafer of heaven we rub between our fingers dissolves,
when all that we believe to be enduringly ours
is borne away by a wafting breeze

it is such a fragile web,
this tottering cradle from which we revisit the dawn
greet the moon
offer our hearts bared raw and unvarnished,
lean into palisades we fabricate to buffer ourselves from the wind,
from each other, ourselves

every moment matters
be it cloaked in darkness, arrayed in brilliance,
this one carries the seed of the next,
germ of the former,
an endless procession of unformed outcomes
spiral and swirl in search of higher ground

and so it is wise to remain awake
merrily gathering whispers of life in braided baskets,
knowing full well that the unraveling never ceases
and the birthing never ends

9 thoughts

  1. To All,

    Thank you for your depth of compassion and caring. My friend continues to make small yet significant improvements following the discovery of E. coli 0157 in her system. However, she is hardly out of the woods. Who is to say what “healing” looks like? Those of us who take the broad view pray for the optimum outcome — that her soul be granted peace — and so we wait and watch the arduous journey of her body as patiently and lovingly as we can.


  2. you speak so tenderly of those who are sick and missing, each one so precious, part of the whole, each moment of loving and caring building the web of connection, my loving thoughts are with you and yours, and my heart is grateful for your poem xx


  3. Rachel my dear siSTAR, again and again I would cross the earth many times just to read one of your poems. I am lovin you. xoxo


  4. Holding You close in thought, energies, and prayer Dear Rachel…for You and Your much beloved community.

    Your poem is wistful, yet full of heartstrings that beckon each one of us to closely examine the delicate, yet strong webs we weave, knowing that when one strand quivers, the whole strand quivers.

    May Great Spirit bring You and Yours sustenance, comfort, and strength, Sweet Kindred Sister!



  5. I’m so sorry for all of these losses to your community and hope creating such a sensitive poem has, in even a small way, contributed to your healing. Thank you for the beauty and love woven into your writing. Gentle peace.


  6. It is interesting, how life seems so difficult at times but it is all the time such a fragile thing. It is no wonder it is compared to a vapor. Here again is another lesson presented: that life is a delicate web and we must not take its gift(s) for granted. A well penned piece Rachel!


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