It was some serious rain.
6-8” between that 5 a.m. clap of thunder that jerked the neighborhood awake and the silent, swift-rising chimera of cloud that enveloped us eerily around midnight. Cars crashed. Streets flooded. Stretches of interstate were closed for hours. I swear, within the first four hours, brown yards greened.
The air smelled clean at first, then of fish and frogs and wet dogs. The hum of air conditioners in the cul-de-sac stilled. It was the promise of autumn, spilled out on the first day of September following a fly-swatting, high-tempered, drought-laden August experience.
WATER. Finally, and enough.
By next morning it seemed every living thing was in better humor. As e.e.cummings wrote, the world was “mud-licious and puddle-wonderful.” There was nothing better to be done than to head for Anne’s Lake and see how happy the ducks and dragonflies had become overnight…
The fog was thick and phantom-like, swirling around the ankles of willows and sucking up whole geese, magician-style. Mallards vacuumed the shoreline, gorging on insects the wind blew in. Damselflies participated in open-air orgies, as a red-tailed hawk eyed it all with detached superiority from atop a diseased oak. All of this activity, commotion arose from the weepy fits of a few angry clouds! Marvelous, the power of water!
THINK of it, what water can do!
We all know that the 277 river-miles of the Grand Canyon was carved by water. Solid rock! Carved from fluid but persistent water! At it’s deepest, the canyon is 6000 feet from canyon rim to river bottom, 10 miles across at its widest. A raft trip through it can take 2 weeks, a hike to the bottom and back 2-3 days.
Water (or lack thereof) has forced many plant and animal species to evolve a compensatory set of skills to survive. Take, for instance, the camel. Rather than the circular red blood cells that all other mammals have, it has oval cells that assists flow in a dehydrated condition. When camels exhale, water vapor is trapped by their nostrils and returned to their bodies. Their kidneys retain water so efficiently that a camel’s defecation is so dry it’s often used as fire-starter.
And how less wonderful would this world be without creatures who make water their home? Consider the sea turtles who start out biting and clawing their way through their shells, dig furiously through a foot of sand to reach the surface, navigate to the sea by moonlight and swim continuously for days to reach deeper, safer waters, fueled solely by their own egg yolk residuals!
Think of the role the ocean plays in the phenomenon of the advancing carpet of red crabs on Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Each fall the red crabs, 120 million strong, migrate across highways, schoolyards, parking lots and a golf course to the sea to spawn. This blanket of red bodies is so dense that it can be seen from airplanes. Locals shovel them from their sidewalks and adjust their daily lives to accommodate them. Take, for instance, the die-hard golfers on the island’s single course who have adopted the rule that the crabs “belong to the game…” meaning if a crab manages to push a golf ball into a hole, it counts as IN.
Masaru Emoto is a Japanese author known for his work called “Messages From Water,” in which he claims — and aims to show through microscopic photography — that human thoughts directed at water droplets before freezing affect the water crystals in the frozen state. His research strives to show that positive thoughts (whether through prayer, words of intent or music) produce “beautiful” crystals, whereas negative ones produce “ugly,” misshapen ones. The inference is that water has a secret life of its own and that it can absorb and transmit human emotions. He conjectures that this can be utilized for its curative properties in ways never before imagined. Emoto does, of course, have his critics in the scientific world, and it doesn’t aid his credibility that he sells products based on his “findings.” So far, however, his experiments (to my knowledge) haven’t been DISproven. If you watched the wildly popular and highly controversial video “The Secret,” you saw similar experiments and outcomes.
If, indeed, his experiments (and many similar ones conducted by scientists since) are conclusive and support his hypothesis, the ensuing question begs an answer: does water hold the key to many scientific and spiritual mysteries? Is it a bigger piece in the God-puzzle than we ever imagined?
Of course, “everything old is new again,” and if you were to describe these “new” findings to an Native American elder, you’d likely receive a slow, knowing smile. Maybe we’ll discuss these issues again later. For now, I’m just content to sit and gaze on the dozens of little rivulets parting over stones and twigs in the stream, lose myself in the way it catches the light, throws itself over rocks in a suicidal manner, then recovers at the bottom to flow, seemingly uninterrupted and completely at peace, onward.
In the words of Rumi, “the wonder of water moving over that rock justifies existence.”
St. Francis said it first, and best:
“Such love does the sky now pour, that whenever I stand in a field, I have to wring out the light when I get home.”
That’s what this blog is all about: the light-wringing I do when I get home from the fields with my camera full of recorded moments and my mind still saturated in Nature-Love… and not just for the obviously beautiful parts of nature, but the terrifying, the savage, the predatory, since without the “dark,” the “light” has no definition. All is part of the fullness, the sphere, the web of what we call The Universe, necessary and beneficial. I appreciate it all, and count it a privelege to witness and record it.
Like the poet Mary Oliver, I believe that “My work is loving the world.” In part of her poem “Messenger,” she reminds herself to:
“…keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still
and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium. The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a heart and a mind
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.” *
If we spend much time in the fields, in the mountains, in the forests or by the seas, we soon comprehend the interconnectedness of all living things. We start to walk more softly… we start to accept, even appreciate, the polarity inherent in all beings, including those of the human kind. We cultivate more joy. Worry less. Re-learn how to play and pray. Nature has a way of softening us, out here in the “Light Fields.”
This blog, then, is my invitation to you. JOIN ME. Let’s explore nature together with the wide-eyed curiosity and open heart of a little child. Ready? Yes? Well then, as Rumi said,
“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing or right-doing, there is a field…..I’ll meet you there.”
* Source: Poem “Messenger,” from the book Thirst by Pulitzer Prize-winner Mary Oliver, 2006 Beacon Press