Water, water everywhere: The snow is finally melting faster than it is accumulating in New England – for which my family is deeply grateful as my father moves today from the home that holds forty years of history to the home that holds a future full of surprises and new stories and unfolding friendships.
Water, water everywhere: The snow pack in Colorado (which provides water not only for this state, but for much of southern California and which drains south in rivers and rivulets and deep in the water table to bring life to the southwest as far as northern Mexico) is still well below what is needed to supply all that land and its inhabitants.
Water, water everywhere: Every cell of every living organism is filled chock full of water. It is one of the two essential components of evolving life, and of continuing life, and of renewing life.
Water is powerful symbol and central character in our human myths. It is birth and death; salvation and danger. It is abundance and grace and slaked thirst; refreshment and cleansing. Water is the cold clink of ice in summer, the warmth of steam in winter, the soft melting of seedcase in spring. It is the common element we share with every other species of plant and animal, a gift and blessing on loan to us while we inhabit these bodies, to be returned to the universe when we have no further need of this flesh.
British author, George MacDonald, said this:
There is no water in oxygen, no water in hydrogen,
water comes bubbling fresh
from the imagination of the living God,
rushing from under the great white throne of the glacier.
The very thought of it makes one gasp
with an elemental joy…
As we think about the Imbolc tasks of preparing ground, and planting, and watering, do we think deeply enough to gasp at the very wonder of soil and seed and liquid miracle? Do we dive deeply enough into our own awareness, our own imagination, to gasp at the memories our cells hold in the ripples of water, gently rocking against their walls, faint echoes of birth and running and dancing and making love and crying and laughing?
This week I invite you to dive down and down and down into the very center of your being, into the warm wetness of the fluid that swept gametes together to begin you, your self, your very being. I invite you to dive down and back and back to the earliest moment of awareness, to the first instant you can remember being aware that you were-are you. I invite you to dive down and down and back and into the amazing wonder of seeing-feeling-thinking something so wonderful that you gasped. I invite you to let yourself float slowly to the surface, passing memories of experiences of gasping: in wonder, in pain, in love, in fear, in labor, in surprise.
This week, I invite you to create a space of elemental joy. Fill a bowl with water and find some small stones – white or black or grey or mottled, polished or raw; gravel from the driveway scooped up into a bag, or stones you saved from a trip to the beach or the mountains, or stones you found on a riverbank. Set the bowl in a lovely place, perhaps with a plant beside it or a bright beautiful piece of fabric underneath. Maybe you want to include a votive candle. Set your journal close.
When you wake and before you go to sleep, take a moment to celebrate the presence of water in your life. Pause to think about one specific instance of water for which you are grateful: clean water to brush your teeth or steep your teabag. A morning shower, an evening soak. Rain. Tears. Clouds, pink in a sunrise sky. Snow melting into the water table. Clean clothes. A rainbow. Write in down in your journal. Then dive deeper. Sink down and down to a memory cradled safely in cell-waters, down to a gasp – to a place so full of power that you respond with awe from the essential instincts beyond thought or control. Allow yourself to feel all the way, to notice the miracle that is a single breath, a single kiss, a single touch, a single blink.
Drop a stone in the bowl of water. Offer your gratitude in words or in silence.
This prayer may speak to you; if so, you are welcome to use it. If it doesn’t, set it aside. Either way know that my blessing enfolds your journey however far away you are, whether we have met or not. And the echo of your courage and risk ripple through the universe blessing every atom they pass, blessing me.
Creator G-d, with an explosion of love,
you set me afloat deep under the surface of womb-waters.
Draw me now, again, beneath those waters of rebirth.
Redeemer G-d, in a drenching flood of faith,
you sweep me into the baptismal storm —
chaotic journey from separation to surrender.
Spill me into that tempest now, again,
to relearn your buoyant grace.
Sustainer G-d, from a brimming chalice of hope,
you fill me with your eternal renewal.
Pour me out now as refreshment for those who thirst.
Let it be so.
Text © 2015, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos ©2008, 2011 and 2014, Immram Chara, LLC