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In this moment, as I write, I’m sitting in an 88 degree house, surrounded by a heavy summer rainstorm, thundering the sky and saturating the soil. When the AC unit quit working, I bemoaned the next few days, or more, being forced to live in the staggering heat and humidity of summer in the South. I’m prone to overheat, and I became anxious last night, imagining the near future and how I was to keep my body temperature in a safe zone.
Despite discomfort from the unexpected vacation our AC took, I am fine. It’s quite interesting to be thrown into the embrace of unmitigated summer, no longer able to hide in my human-made environment. How easy it is to forget the rawness of life, while sequestered away within bubbles of temperature-modified homes enjoyed by the fortunate—how easy and how unfortunate. But I digress. That’s a topic for another day.
Anyway, I type this while glancing out the window every few minutes to saturate my vision with the beauty of the forest surrounding our house. The multi-version of greens birthed within the leaves brighten like dormant dry watercolor pigment coming alive with brush and water. Every leaf trembles with each rain drop, grateful the dry spell has broken. The tree’s thirst is being quenched, and I can almost hear their rapture.
I know their joy. Nothing in this world rejuvenates me, unveiling my natural joy to pulse on the surface of my skin, more than swimming. Wrap me in a river, lake, or sea and the result is always the same; I emerge refreshed, happy, and peacefully calm. And never is my water dance complete until the harsh sounds of the dry world hush as I fully disappear under the skin of the water’s surface, that mysterious liquid, which mirrors the ever-changing reality of life, of our human existence.
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From the sea, the sky siphons water upward, only to release it back down again. While ice holds history in her belly, mist, snow, and rain transform into one another at a much more rapid pace. Isn’t this a mirror to our lives? We are born, and each moment, we change. We never stay the same, though we may believe we do. Nothing in our perceived reality is solid, including us. Like all phenomena, we are as water, transforming and playing into different forms, even if these transformations aren’t detectable by human perception. Look at a photo of yourself at age three, then at age twenty. Now compare how you are today to those photos. Remember how different the world seemed at these different ages? What about you is the same? What holds all those different versions of you together?
I find it frightening, recognizing the impermanence of all things. I also find it liberating. If things were not impermanent, we could never grow and experience life. In fact, there would not be life at all, for life depends on change.
But there IS something that connects this web of constant transformation. I’m not here to preach to you what my answer may be to what is this stable, ever-present reality. I simply want to share with you the wonder of this interplay between our impermanence and the permanent nature of the spiritual. This interplay strikes me as beautifully frightening, much like the wild South Pacific ocean I experienced in Samoa many years ago.
It was our honeymoon. My husband and I hiked to a cove of black sand and huge swells that never broke. I refused to go in, as it seemed so unfamiliar and scary. I didn’t trust swells that never turned over into waves. My husband eventually coaxed me in with a promise to never let me go. As our intertwined bodies lifted and dropped with the swell’s powerful, yet gentle ease, peace found me effortlessly within the arms of my husband. The moment was one of those times that washes your soul into a bright aliveness, an awareness void of a dull mind anchored by disorderly habits of thought and emotion. It was a type of yoking between nature, spirit, and love. To this day, that paradisal cove is one of our most treasured moments together, given to us by the sea.
From the hot southern rains to the ice packed lands of the north to the swells of the South Pacific ocean, water is the reflection of the soul. Both wonder-filled and frightening, this mysterious element electrifies my soul (I imagine much like it does for the trees outside my window who have now stilled, peacefully refreshed by the sky’s transformative dance).
Below is a poem I wrote while being embraced by the sky’s water dance.
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I send you light and love,