The Water

Yesterday I got in.

There is a stream that runs in our front yard. I’m guessing the path it traces is ancient and natural, but during plantation days in Hawaii this waterway was used for pineapple farming. A small concrete structure remains where once the flow was diverted, though today it gushes free.

We’ve lived in this place for four months but I’ve only looked at the waterfall from the short cliff above. Sunlight will sparkle down upon the bubbling through lacey leaves in the sheltering tree limbs. A mossy stone slab at the waterfall’s base has whispered that it makes a perfect seat.

The Bohemian has climbed down to explore. Jeb and his teenage friends have looked for prawns (and found them). Even Mae, our Labrador, has sniffed out an easy way to grip a path along the slippery rocks to sniff the effervescence misting from the chute.

I don’t know what’s kept me. But yesterday I got in.

It was our usual morning lap in our front yard- the Bohemian, our dog Mae, some simple stick tossing and dewy grass around our gum boots. We wandered to the water and I found my familiar gazing place. But this time something shifted. Maybe it was the towering bamboo, the clacking wood and shimmying leaves in the breeze. In some old, familiar, natural, earthly impulse it all came clear.

“Let’s get in,” I said to the Bohemian with an excited grin.

He smiled at me, “Nah.”

“No, really! Let’s just get in.”

It seemed so plainly simple. If not now, when was I going to slip into the liquid? Was I waiting for a planned event? A time when I brought towels? A bathing suit? Did I need to make an appointment?

It was a Sunday morning with sunlight and a gurgling stream in our front yard. I’d never dipped a toe in for four months. That seemed ridiculous. Now was the time.

“I’m going in.”

I slid off my boots, stripped down and slipped in. Amazing!

I found a spot on the mossy rocks and sat, back and shoulders underneath the cascading jet. It felt so good I was overflowing with the desire to have everyone I knew live this feeling. I looked up at the Bohemian smiling down at me from what was once my old gazing spot.

“You’ve got to get in here.”

“Ahh…” he shook his head.

“Really! C’mon!”

He paused, then reached for the first button of his shirt. Yes! My heart flushed with joy.

And he did get in. And he did feel the energizing blessing of that flow.

And after we’d both been christened, we were standing on the mossy rock, rivulets rolling down our skin. We rested in each other’s arms, held by the earth, my ear on the Bohemian’s slippery chest.

The sound of the water rippled. The wind moved tree leaves. The scent of damp earth and sun-dried grass hung on the banks around us.

We were spinning through space. Grounded.

No New Normal

My days of news-fasting ended around November 2017. Now I feel I have a moral responsibility to observe the roller coaster ride of emotional onslaught that oozes from our screens.

But divisive politics aside,(though I believe it hisses in the background of our collective lives incessantly), everyone I know is going through upheaval. Their ‘normals’ are no more.
There seems to be no ‘getting back to normal.’

I remember in my twenties wanting to be anything but. Yet no matter how I’ve been exploring the life experience in these past decades, I hadn’t realized I’d still been counting on some constants. Certain standards.

Some of these reliables elude pinpointing. They could be summarized as an underlying sense of security. Something I took for granted. Perhaps it was always an illusion, but it was there propping my youthful naiveté, nonetheless.

Yes, I’ve tested the confines of institutions, seeking greater parameters, or pressing for improvements in what they hold.

Things like democracy, marriage…TRUTH. These were established foundations from which I wanted to evolve. How could we bring freedom and equality to all? How could we love deeply and grow in union? How could we bravely live our greatest truths, first, by being fiercely honest with ourselves?

In recent times I’ve watched my circle of friends lose houses in a flood, marriages dissolve, family members die and jobs end. I could say that these are the experiences of life, but somehow it all seems to be happening at once. Every casual conversation with a friend reveals their latest shake-up.

It’s possible this is my limited perspective. Maybe it’s always been this way and I’m just noticing the precariousness of life more than before.

But from where I sit it seems the bedrock is shaking and I have a sinking sense that there’s no turning back. It feels like much of what I counted on may soon become artifacts in pieces.

That’s not to say that I’m not hopeful. Sometimes things need to dissolve to make way for something better. I truly hope that’s where we’re heading. Maybe we need to be so immersed in the toxicity of lies that we move toward Truth, never to be traitorous again.

I watch myself seeking something to hold on to. Something I can count on. If there is a new normal, what is it?

For now, the answer that comes is that it’s all just grasping. All falls away. So how do I want to live this experience, moment to moment, no guarantees?

I want to live in freedom, great love, and deepest truth. These are the bedrock within that defy destruction.

I can touch their essence in stillness. In nature. Beauty helps me to remember.

So as a balance to the shadow side of life, I’d like share my offering of at least one beautiful thing.

Here’s one for today.