Water falls – either river or rain – speak a whole spectrum of the Language of Wet, from soft drip & trickle to pounding slam-hard powerful. I’ve come to believe that all are profoundly healing in the long run – even Tsunami, Hurricane, Cyclone. Sometimes tragically so, painfully so – but real healing is like that.
There are ponds, pools, tiny lakes and great lakes, oceans of deep and old – ever renewing collectors of water. There are aquifers deep and ancient, vast and secret reservoirs of …. memory?
Memory that cools, grounds, sinks and dissolves into something the stars might sing.
I’m thinking about water, and how it feels like a physical and emotional home to me. It is at root a promise of renewal – immerse, let go of air for a moment, alter the pull of gravity, of time; extend the reach and timbre of sound so you feel … lifted, suspended, embraced. Resonant. Dissolved, for a moment.
To rise again into the mantle of gravity, air, task, focal point, verbal articulation, but cleaner, clearer.
Water stands, too, in those places where the amphibians go and humans do not, where toxicity is dissolved. I think of wetlands as precious, timeless places. Perhaps Chronos lives there, listening.
The sound of water falling – rhythmic & repetitive, whether it’s a drip or a roar – is the soundtrack of our days.
There’s an idea that water is a collector of Story – from us, from flora and fauna, from sky and sun. Horrific stories- catastrophic, miraculous, impossible – but also mundane, incidental, apparently unimportant.
I’m going to paint this. We live in times of deep and profound change, all over the planet. No culture, country, community or person can avoid being confronted by this, and by the deep fears we all experience, collectively and privately, in reaction.
It’s the kind of snow there’s a constant More of. The plows and trucks and blowers, out all night long are still going strong at 10am. Cars slide gently sideways to stop signs. Kids and grown-ups both are thoroughly snow-suited, booted, winter-gloved and touqued as they kick & trudge through piled white, falling white, blowing – white everywhere. Dogs leap and dive in it; parked cars have long since disappeared, save for a stripe of colour along their sides.
The coffee tastes better. The blankets are warmer. The books are more intriguing; the art more tantalizing now that there’s time to look deeply. The music has such clean white space around it, it’s almost visible.
I’ve dug out my knitting projects. I find myself puttering, replacing buttons, fixing collars, darning holes in old sweaters.
Just heard the opening phrase of a new song: 3 cello voices, descending, one rising, to A minor; hold. Then vocals…
I’ve said this before, but it’s true enough to say twice: I love what winter does to me.
Delightful days, these. In the grand pause of morning I can recall at least one, sometimes three marvelously shocking, transcendent moments for each day of this month – some mine, others I’ve witnessed. Is this what you get when you jump into Georgian Bay at midnight on Nov 1? If so I’ll make it annual.
We are alive in a rare time.
Perhaps I’m not the only one sensing this recent surge to collaborate with one another, to push the old boundaries of comfort, desire and suffering until a new level of release is achieved. Tavener addressed it in his August interview (check the post before this one), Ted Hughes articulates it in a letter to his son (excerpted below) and if I look around me in close friends, family, colleagues I witness an active, sometimes urgently expressed willingness to … ‘turn and face the change’. Even, and maybe especially if there’s no clue as to what that IS.
I found this at 6am this morning, written by one of my most favourite poets of all time – a writer brutal in his honesty, wild in his deprecating humour. Share, share.
….At every moment, behind the most efficient seeming adult exterior, the whole world of the person’s childhood is being carefully held like a glass of water bulging above the brim. And in fact, that child is the only real thing in them. It’s their humanity, their real individuality, the one that can’t understand why it was born and that knows it will have to die, in no matter how crowded a place, quite on its own. That’s the carrier of all the living qualities. It’s the centre of all the possible magic and revelation. What doesn’t come out of that creature isn’t worth having, or it’s worth having only as a tool — for that creature to use and turn to account and make meaningful. So there it is. And the sense of itself, in that little being, at its core, is what it always was. But since that artificial secondary self took over the control of life around the age of eight, and relegated the real, vulnerable, supersensitive, suffering self back into its nursery, it has lacked training, this inner prisoner. And so, wherever life takes it by surprise, and suddenly the artificial self of adaptations proves inadequate, and fails to ward off the invasion of raw experience, that inner self is thrown into the front line — unprepared, with all its childhood terrors round its ears.
And yet that’s the moment it wants. That’s where it comes alive — even if only to be overwhelmed and bewildered and hurt. And that’s where it calls up its own resources — not artificial aids, picked up outside, but real inner resources, real biological ability to cope, and to turn to account, and to enjoy. That’s the paradox: the only time most people feel alive is when they’re suffering, when something overwhelms their ordinary, careful armour, and the naked child is flung out onto the world. That’s why the things that are worst to undergo are best to remember. But when that child gets buried away under their adaptive and protective shells—he becomes one of the walking dead, a monster. So when you realise you’ve gone a few weeks and haven’t felt that awful struggle of your childish self — struggling to lift itself out of its inadequacy and incompetence — you’ll know you’ve gone some weeks without meeting new challenge, and without growing, and that you’ve gone some weeks towards losing touch with yourself.
The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.