Be The Water
As I type these words, my body rebels against sitting at a computer station in the form of a sore back and a right arm that feels slightly disconnected from how it should. I would rather be sore from chopping wood or planting an acre of kale by hand. I am reminded of how far away from our roots we have gotten as a human species – and how much we need to remember those roots. We click away on computer keyboards and scroll through information on touch screens hour after hour, day after day. There are good things about technology, to be sure. We can stay connected and get information more easily than ever before. But we also lose something if we let technology take the reins –when we let it dictate our choices and our day-to-day actions. We read about nature online instead of taking time to walk in the woods, we send emails in greeting instead of knocking on a door, we listen to recordings of soothing nature sounds to relax instead of opening the windows, and we look up weather conditions on a news website instead of stepping out the front door to experience them in full. We watch television or play video games instead of having conversations or living our own adventure. How strange we must look to other creatures.
Do we notice that our behavior has gotten so out of touch with reality that we destroy the elements that keep us alive? Some of us do. Some of us do, but keep living like we always have. Some of us are preoccupied. Some of us want to rule the world. I wonder what it will take for us to get back in touch with the part of ourselves that IS nature, the part that yearns to see its unique weave in the tapestry of creation. I wonder if I notice my weave enough. I wonder if noticing can heal what’s broken or unbalanced. I wonder how I can take the noticing and use it to live in a way that is truly woven deep into the soil that nourishes, into the air that breathes, and into the water that keeps intention flowing into being.
I wonder how to remember to be the water.
I can hear the lake ice groaning as squirrels chatter to each other this morning. Life outside is in full swing, even as the temperature plummets to bone chilling depths. Wild creatures of all sorts have somehow welcomed the winter’s frigid temperatures. I sense a muted jubilation from life outside, in celebration that everything has slowed down with the deep settling of winter across the frozen ground. The air is eerily still, and the snow creaks with the cold when tiny feet dart across the crusted drifts. It is bitterly cold to human skin, but the birds don’t seem to mind. Yet the house is warm. There is still wood to burn in the stove. There are boxes of storage potatoes and onions and squash in the basement, waiting to be eaten as the earth sleeps. The garlic that was planted just before the ground froze is nestled under the soil in anticipation for the growing that will start in a spring that is yet to come. Wildflowers have been replaced by drifts of white, the Big Bluestem grasses have put on overcoats of brown, and the pileated woodpecker has made his homecoming to the frozen shores of the lake. After a garden that just kept growing and a fall that held onto warmth longer than usual, winter has embraced the landscape in full.
Despite the seemingly constant hum of industrial progress, and the drone of lack and longing that rides on a fine line between illusion and reality, the essence of the earth persists at casting shadows of joy all around us – even when the ground is frozen and the air seems inhospitable. If we look closely, we can see the weaves that connect everything, and the rhythm. And we can see the light that radiates when each piece of creation’s mystery adds a note to the hymn that is being written. Even the frozen pieces – water in their own right.
We could perhaps all benefit from remembering to be the water.