beside still waters

Good morning, love

Its warm enough this morning to move out onto the porch with my coffee. A gentle thunderstorm rolled through overnight. I heard the rumble as if it was high above the house and then the rain began to tumble. I imagined it as a mother squeezing out her rag over the head of a bathing child, or a sick one, and I received that blessing.

We are all needing a mother right about now. I think of the Dr Suess book, Are You My Mother?, all of us having fallen from the tree into this strange new world. Of course, I don’t have one of those. Few women of my age do. We are the mothers now, called to place those cloths upon foreheads, to encircle sobbing bodies in our embrace, to soothe with songs.

The birds offer their song to me this morning. I do not know their names, cannot ever seem to retain the songs I learn from one spring to the next, save the White Throated Sparrow, beloved harbinger of my Sweet Canada. There is a redbellied woodpecker out there with his vibrato laden call. The tree he chose 2 springs ago, outside my bedroom window, the one I’d climb out onto the porch roof to watch, has lost its limb. It came down upon the porch roof, breaking some boards and bending the gutter last fall, springing us from bed. The water drips from that still-bent metal, beads of water lined up on its edge like birds on a wire.

The steady, but slowing, drip drip of the rain, still dropping from the tree limbs overhead also soothes, accompanying the birdsong with it staccato beat. Last evening, taize songs, shared by the Eucumenical Community and retreat house at Richmond Hill on the computer, did the same, (likely stimulating my parasympathetic nervous system, the yogis and meditators might say). Music soothes the savage within me, the raw edges smoothed. I hauled my flute and my dulcimer, down from the attic last week, intuiting this need to self-soothe within me. Times like these, I miss my piano.

The water in the lake below is doing its annual withdrawal, coerced to do so by the owner of the ‘concession’, who drains it each spring for a month or so, ostensibly to make his inspection of diving platforms and decks. So nothing grows in it, is what I suspect. The water fowl, attracted each spring to its promise, suddenly left to flounder, will soon depart, though last year a family of wood ducks, nesting in one of the trees at the time of the draining, no doubt, survived to delight.  Life finds a way. This year, I’ve not yet seen the huge old snapper, who is often stranded in the mud, wallowing. Perhaps we are all like him this spring, wondering who pulled the plug and why? Will it be good for our ecosystem, this reorientation to our world? I pray it is so.

Without that water to soothe, my body made its own way yesterday, as if directed by some inner compass, along a tiny path-lined, skunk cabbage crammed, stream to the spring fed frog pond up the hill. At my approach, the tadpoles, already fat, darted for cover in the leaf litter at the edge of the pond . I had forgotten about the springwell at its entrance, walked around to gaze into the circular capture, remembering my own well of grief. Here, its overflowing created a home of sorts, artificial though it might be, for tadpoles and eventual frogs, and a few disposed of goldfish that survived the mild winter. Deer and small mammals come to quench their thirst at the edge, as do humans. Below the exit a stray cat, black and white and fat as a skunk, curled up in the sun next to the emptying flow. I imagined him soothed by the sound of the mini cascade. Someone placed a bench for human beings, to still themselves by those quiet waters, I crawled upon it like a child onto her mother’s lap.

Perhaps my own overflowing well might do the same, offer comfort, peace, communion. Soothe the savage like a song, offer a cool cloth to the forehead or a lap for curling into. May my pouring forth be like that well, offering life, not like that draining dam, emptying, the depression left behind devoid of life.

The water continues to drip from overhead, from the spouts, though the sky, peeking through the breaks in the trees, is azure blue. The dulcimer beckons. I’d like to teach myself the song, The Water is Wide. It will be good to give my heart something to sing.

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