Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Universal Solvent

They think it took 12,000 years to carve this gorge at Watkins Glen State Park. A blink of the eye in earth time, but for us, an unimaginable eternity. Water is persistent!

Water is yielding; it has to do with surrender. But water perseveres, as you can see. A trickle becomes a stream. In winter it freezes, expands, and cracks the rock beneath it. In spring, it thaws and runs harder against the rock. Time passes, et voila! Even more dramatic than the gorge pictured above is, of course, the Grand Canyon. Water is powerful and coherent. Every day at the lake I thought about surface tension. Water does not give up. It surely does not.

Water is moody, unpredictable. But it is also healing, cleansing. Water dissolves almost everything. Water is where life on earth began. Water is eternal.

I've often said I don't "get" water. I don't like water. What? What does that mean? How can I dislike water? I am a bag of water with some salts and other minerals, I surely am. When I say I dislike water, what am I saying? Well?

I take pictures of reflections in rain puddles at every opportunity, also from the hoods of cars that, although not technically puddle reflections, are definitely watery. Every mirror is in some way related to water, including the moon, including the rings of Saturn, for instance. I love mirrors! So - what have I been on about?

I learned a lot about water while at the lake. I learned a lot about myself, too.

It became clear to me, sitting on the deck mornings and afternoons, gazing out at the beautiful confluence of sky and lake, how the sky gathers water, puffs up with beautiful clouds, then returns the water in the form of rain, snow or ice. I watched the trades and sharing between sky and lake all week. There was little difference between the sky and the lake, almost nothing, really. They were two peas in a pod, they surely were. They are. It was a revelation.

I think of myself as a land dweller rather than a denizen of the sea. Of course I do, yes? I do not swim. Swimming pools are toxic with chlorine and natural bodies of water - well - things live in them. It creeps me out. When I swim I can't see a bloody thing unless I wear my glasses but then I worry they'll be swept away. I have never opened my eyes under water. When my sisters reminisce about the community swimming pool we belonged to when we were kids, what they remember is almost drowning. Yeah.

I do not enjoy being in the water! I never have. I do love being on the water. Put me in a canoe, please. Thank you.

Still, I'm amphibious in a sense, because I live and have my being in the ocean of air that envelops the planet. I kept thinking, I'm swimming whether I jump in the lake or not. 

Swimming from inside the condo. Spectacular.

On our last morning, after a few days of clear skies, the lake produced mist. It was as if the lake decided to help the sky. Soon after the mist came up, so did Brother Sun. Then a few pretty little clouds scattered themselves above the water. The mist inspired Father Sky to produce some lovely clouds. It was very sweet. Sky and lake are very dear partners. They dance. I, just like every other being on this planet, am a part of the dance of sky and water. Yep.

Since returning to DC, I've been wiped out, utterly exhausted. I assumed I would be energized and relaxed when I returned, but no. I feel like I swam across the English channel. My explanation - today at least - is that I received so much wisdom while I was there, I'll be bogged down for awhile as I integrate what I learned.

It was quite a trip! My goodness. I am grateful.

Mist on the lake.


Anonymous said...

I have some similar dislikes of water, though it's something I enjoy drinking. Some folks think I am a true oddball to have not had a soft drink in 40 years and would always order water instead. I like having water in me, and on me (as in bathing/showering). Maybe it's because you can never really be completely alone in water, and there is the unknown of what else might be in their with you.

Reya Mellicker said...

I drink lots of water. I love showers but I do not swim. Strong emotions confuse me. Dreams baffle me. The moon makes me crazy. Perhaps it's the associations with water that I struggle with - all that fluidity and mystery.

Lots to think about.

I drink one soda a year, approximately. That stuff is so bad for you.

Pam said...

I don't 'like' water either. Both my brother and I were late swimmers and ended up having private lessons at around nine or ten, my parents travelling miles for a good teacher.
I was told to swim regularly to relieve back pain as an adult, and would sit on the side of the pool talking myself into it - hating the texture, temperature, smell of the chlorine, the crowded lanes, the uncomfortable shivering-wet feeling before eventually hitting the showers. It did work for the pain though! I just don't like water.
I have shamanic tests where the whole boat which is journeying to the other side must go underwater for part of the journey and we journeying souls are required to hold our breath as the water gathers over our heads. I hate that part knowing that it is coming up, even though each dream means if I have the courage to see it through, I will eventually be able to breathe underwater and emerge victorious to the other side. Is that a birthing regression thing? Who knows.

Pam said...

...oh, and enjoyed hearing about your trip - great pics!

Reya Mellicker said...

What a fascinating image, of learning to breathe underwater as a part of your shamanic work. Wow.

You have a lot of courage, you know that right?