West Virginia Morning: Hidden





‘As if you could kill time without injuring eternity,’ Thoreau wrote. You don’t want to kill time but to welcome it, to pick off its leaves and petals one by one, second by second.” ~Frédéric Gros, A Philosophy of Walking

I found his hiding place this morning while filling the finch feeders. Black oil sunflower seeds dropped down plastic tubes and out of the corner of my eye I saw the morning breeze exhale across silken threads. One does not usually get to enjoy such artwork before sunrise so I padded over to gawk, wet grass clinging to bare feet.

He wasn’t home but I made myself comfortable anyway, let my eyes linger on light-studded gossamer as a cardinal complained noisily in a nearby tree at my continued presence.

There it was again—faint ripple in the design and as the toile work lifted and fell it was as if an invisible string joined my soul to its gentle rise. In your light, we see light, the Psalm I read this morning said, and I can feel eternity stir inside of me—the place that beauty always touches.

Things are changing around here. The house feels empty with Teddy gone, but the fire of expectation burns the empty into promise. The earth models for us how to handle these transitions with grace and my hungry eyes seek its tutelage. Autumn whispers on the edges of the days and last night I noticed the fireflies have made themselves scarce.

“From now on we lose two minutes of daylight every day,” my friend Frankie told me yesterday at work. “And in November, we lose an hour.”

Later today I will pull up my ramshackle beans, what’s left of the tomatoes and squash. Then I will plant the fall crop of greens. I texted my mother-in-law this morning, “Am I too late?” And she said, no, there is still time.

As I wait for the spider to appear, the sun burns off the morning dew. I feel time move over me—my shoulders, my neck, the curve of my cheek. I’ve been reading Emily P. Freeman’s new book, Simply Tuesday, and in it she celebrates all that is my life—the beauty of the small, the joy of each common moment. As I read her words I am feeling seen, for the first time in a long time, perhaps. And I know this tender ache of missing my boy is something beautiful, something to be celebrated, just as is the coming of light each day.

Slowly, sweetly, the light saturates the morning, and my unseen spider friend’s hiding place becomes invisible once again.


  1. Lynn D. Morrissey says

    You KNOW how much I love your writing, Laura. You breathe poetry especially in hiddenness. But Im so glad you bring your thoughts to light on this blog. I love that particular quote by Thoreau and had read it not too long ago. As my days approach utter hiddenness (no, no one knows how long God has given her as grace to shed light on this planet), one thing is sure: with every passing year, I have less time here. So as my daughter turns twenty-three today, and with me forty years her senior, i’m thinking a lot about fleetness–a lot about gossamer gifts (like my life itself). I want to stop injuring eternity, Laura, and to be far more conscious of gathering God’s gifts here (and storing up heavenly treasure), but also more intentional about bestowing them on others–just like you do in your W-VA place on the net week after week. I know Teddy is away at college (praying for your hard transition), but honestly, I don’t think there is anything empty about your life. Your heart is so filled with such beauty and wisdom, it just naturally spills over to us. Keep spilling your soul, Laura. I bathe in it. Love you,

  2. says

    The spiders have been hard at work in our yard too, catching me in their threads. I like to think of them spinning in the cool darkness, dancing through the night’s cool air. I saw one firefly last night while we sat around a fire. Each moment, each spinning as holy as the next.

  3. says

    I’ve tried for years to get a good picture of a spiderweb to no avail. You’ve captured it beautifully, Laura! While I don’t like spiders, I am fascinated with the intricacy of their webs. Another wonder of God’s creation.


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