Soul-Searching in a Sea of Images


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Painting by Erin Gregory

I stayed up late last night, way past my bed time, searching Pinterest for images to save to my boards.It was a quiet and soothing experience, punctuated by intense pleasure when I came across something that spoke to me, made my heart sing, or feel a deep, abiding resonance.

It reminded me of the pure pleasure and satisfaction I felt when I was living aboard La Gitana, foraging beneath the sea for food–pin scallops, lion paws, conch. There’s a certain mind-set you acquire when searching for something that lies half-hidden among all the other equally beautiful and arresting shapes of sea life. While swimming along the surface of things, your mind is keenly tuned toward just that precise shape and color that you know will yield what you are looking for. And when you see it, you dive down deep with knife and net in hand to retrieve it, before resurfacing to continue the hunt.

In the case of image collecting, the “food” I seek is for the mind and soul, something that touches me in such a way I feel blessed for having found it, for allowing my eyes to feast upon it, for letting what it was the artist sought to articulate speak to me.

In addition to that deep-souled searching is a more practical pursuit as I learn to paint with watercolor and pastel–a need to understand why certain images affect me in certain ways, and how the artist induces those felt-responses. How do colors and shapes and textures, certain strokes and effects, delight and move me the way they do? What makes the images arresting? What makes my eye linger here and not there? To feel such a connection that I want to “save” it, so I can return again and again to bask and meditate?

What creates this resonance, and what does it say about me, and about the artist?

I want to learn to apply paint to paper in a way that expresses my own delight in things that will move others as well. How do we share what’s deep and meaningful and enriching  to us with others? Especially when what we find so striking or moving lies half-hidden within, not something we can clearly put our finger on–only feel.

So much to muse upon.

Here are a few of the paintings that moved and delighted me last night as I swam and dove among a sea of images on Pinterest.


Ocean Light II by John Hulsey


La Barque by Odilon Redon


A Wedding in December by Bill Gingles


The Parkway by Henri Manguin


Liminal Moment by Bobbette Rose

For Love of Chaos – My Viking Binge, Trump, & Wrecking-Ball Politics


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viking-from-the-vikings-maxresdefaultSince becoming the full-time nanny for my little granddaughter, my reading tastes have taken a decisive darker turn. Instead of the lyrical literary novels I’mm usually drawn to, I’ve been on a Viking binge.

It started with Bernard Cromwell’s The Saxon Stories, upon which the acclaimed BBC series “The Last Kingdom” is based. It continued with Judson Roberts’ “The Strongbow Saga“, Giles Kristoan’s “Raven Trilogy”, and James Wilde’s books about Hereward, the English hero that some claim the Robin Hood tales were based on.

The question puzzling me for quite some time is why this dark turn toward such violent reads? What is it that draws me to them and keeps me reading?

I may have found at least a partial answer in one of Kristian’s books, when the young Viking Raven muses on “the love of chaos.” How even in the most life-threatening moments, when absolute silence is needed to keep death from descending and destroying them all, part of him wants to cry out and “turn that still night into seething madness.” Part of him wants to “break through the thick ice of that mute terror, for even chaos would be better than waiting, than expecting the fire to reach out of the night and eat your flesh.”

Perhaps we’ve all felt a bit of that “love of chaos” at some time in our lives. Felt in the face of some extreme danger a wild giddy urge–to run the car off the edge of a dark winding road, to step off the edge of the cliff into the wild-blue thrill of free-fall. Perhaps all extreme sport enthusiasts harbor a bit of this in their hearts when attempting their death-defying stunts. The mad desire to push past the edge of all reason into a wild unknown.

Maybe my turn toward these violent reads is a dormant “love of chaos,” the urge to experience, if only vicariously, that death-defying thrill. To travel with these warriors into a dark unknown as they risk death and destruction in a daring quest for gold and glory. To risk all to see what great gain may stand on the other side. Or not.

I can’t help seeing some of this “love of chaos” playing out on the political stage today in what some have called a kind of “wrecking-ball” mentality in some American voters. Their impatience with restraint, nuance, diplomacy, and what they see as political correctness. The wild urge to tear it all down, all apart, and see what rises out of the ashes. They see Trump as wielding the wrecking ball that will destroy the status quo in the wild hope that out of such chaos will come gold and glory.

I’m far from being a Trump fan, but I do understand that wild impulse. In certain seemingly hopeless situations, throwing caution to the wind has a strong appeal. The desperate hope is that chaos itself will become the cauldron out of which a new, better world will emerge.

This urge toward chaos has strong a strong corollary in nature, in the violent upheavals that impose a new order:  The shifting Teutonic plates that broke apart to create the continents and seas that sustain life today. The glaciers that ripped away vast chunks of earth to carve out spectacular canyons and riverbeds. The wild-fire that brings so much destruction, yet germinates new seeds for future forests.The list goes on.

“Out of chaos the dancing star is born.”  So sang the poet.

Perhaps this love of chaos is etched into our DNA.  We can’t escape it, but we can try to understand it, in ourselves and each other.

I’m hoping our better angels, our more reasonable natures, will prevail in the November election, and we do not trust our future to the chaos of wrecking-ball politics. But it’s important to try to understand what gives rise to these desparate tendencies. To not make the mistake of thinking we are above it all, that only the others, the so-called “deplorables,” have such dark urges. Hate, racism, xenophobia, terrorism–if we look deep enough into our own hearts and minds we will find the seeds of each, whether lying dormant or on fertile ground. We have to see this, and understand it in ourselves, before we can understand it in others. And learn to rein it in.

Young Raven learned to rein in his urge toward chaos that dark and deadly night, and he and his companions lived to fight again for gold and glory. Learning when to let our wilder urges move us forward, and when to rein them is what will move all of us closer to our own common goals, whether they be of gold and glory, or peace and prosperity and a better world.


Music is More Feeling than Sound


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Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing circa 1786 by William Blake 1757-1827

Oberon, Titania and Puck with Fairies Dancing circa 1786 William Blake 1757-1827 Presented by Alfred A. de Pass in memory of his wife Ethel 1910

From “Peter Quince at the Clavier” by Wallace Stevens.

Just as my fingers on these keys
Make music, so the self-same sounds
On my spirit make a music too.

Music is feeling, then, not sound
And thus it is that what I feel
Here in this room, desiring you

Thinking of your blue-shadowed silk
Is music.

Time and again, I’ve found that something I’ve felt and have tried to articulate has already been beautifully captured in one of Stevens’ poems. My last blog post on music touched upon this, the sense that music is more feeling than sound–the way you feel as you play and the music moves through you,  and the way you feel as you listen to and are played upon by the music.

This poem is more about desire than music or feeling, however, or perhaps more about how desire plays out on a palette of color and sounds and rhythms. Stevens has been called a “musical imagist,” but he also notes the close correspondence between poetry and painting. In particular he’s known for his idea of the “Supreme Fiction”–how the mind/imagination “creates” reality.

When you read the poem posted in full below, you may not fully understand or appreciate all it implies as it references Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night Dream and relates the biblical story of Susanna and the Elders). But the feeling of the images–the sounds of the words and the colors and shapes of the images as they sweep through your mind–is dreamlike and moving in a way that speaks to some truth that lies just below consciousness. As dreams often do.

Music is like that too. We feel its “truth” although we may not be able to articulate it.

There’s a new book out called “The Jazz of Physics” by Dr. Stephon Alexander. He writes about how the structure of the universe is like a musical composition, both arising from a “pattern of vibration.” I haven’t read the book yet but a review in the New York Times by Dan Tepfer concludes with this quote: “[T]he reason why music has the ability to move us so deeply is that it is an auditory allusion to our basic connection to the universe.” Tepfer sums up: “This not only feels true; it is what musicians live for.”

Dr. Alexander may be on to something. One of the most beautiful verses in the Bible refers to the creation of the universe as “when the morning stars first sang together.”

We humans have been alluding to a powerful connection between music and the universe for a long, long time. Is it any wonder we feel music more deeply than sound?

Stevens’ poem in full.

Peter Quince at the Clavier
Just as my fingers on these keys
Make music, so the self-same sounds
On my spirit make a music, too.
Music is feeling, then, not sound;
And thus it is that what I feel,
Here in this room, desiring you,
Thinking of your blue-shadowed silk,
Is music. It is like the strain
Waked in the elders by Susanna:
Of a green evening, clear and warm,
She bathed in her still garden, while
The red-eyed elders, watching, felt
The basses of their beings throb
In witching chords, and their thin blood
Pulse pizzicati of Hosanna.

In the green water, clear and warm,
Susanna lay.
She searched
The touch of springs,
And found
Concealed imaginings.
She sighed,
For so much melody.
Upon the bank, she stood
In the cool
Of spent emotions.
She felt, among the leaves,
The dew
Of old devotions.
She walked upon the grass,
Still quavering.
The winds were like her maids,
On timid feet,
Fetching her woven scarves,
Yet wavering.
A breath upon her hand
Muted the night.
She turned–
A cymbal crashed,
And roaring horns.

Soon, with a noise like tambourines,
Came her attendant Byzantines.
They wondered why Susanna cried
Against the elders by her side;
And as they whispered, the refrain
Was like a willow swept by rain.
Anon, their lamps’ uplifted flame
Revealed Susanna and her shame.
And then, the simpering Byzantines,
Fled, with a noise like tambourines.

Beauty is momentary in the mind —
The fitful tracing of a portal;
But in the flesh it is immortal.
The body dies; the body’s beauty lives,
So evenings die, in their green going,
A wave, interminably flowing.
So gardens die, their meek breath scenting
The cowl of Winter, done repenting.
So maidens die, to the auroral
Celebration of a maiden’s choral.
Susanna’s music touched the bawdy strings
Of those white elders; but, escaping,
Left only Death’s ironic scrapings.
Now, in its immortality, it plays
On the clear viol of her memory,
And makes a constant sacrament of praise.


Primary Wonder, Age Three


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Primary Wonder, Age Three

Walking with our granddaughter
Whispering and waving
Our wings
Sniffing for bats.

What do you smell grandma?
What do you smell grandpa?

by Deborah J. Brasket

Inspired from a backyard outing with our granddaughter after re-reading this poem by Denise Levertov.

Primary Wonder

Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; cap and bells.

And then
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng’s clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, O Lord,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.

by Denise Levertov

Learning to Play (Again)


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piano-801707_960_720I played piano as a girl and always regretted giving it up. Lately the thought that I may never play again, never again experience the pure pleasure of music playing out through my finger tips onto the keys–to lose that forever– seemed too sad to bear. So I bought myself an electronic piano, something I could set out on my dining room table to play.

Nothing so romantic as a baby grand–but it has the touch and feel of the real thing. I can close my eyes and listen and imagine that heavy-breathing instrument bowing beneath my body as I play it.

The music I want to play is the kind that sweeps you away–Chopin, Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven . . . . What I yearn for, and seem to remember, is the kind of playing where body and music meld, where the notes sway through my body and spill out on the keyboard, like some lover I’m caressing. A musical love-making.

Of course, it’s a fantasy. I never played so well as a child, and I can’t imagine that the clumsy relearning I’m now experiencing will ever evolve into that. And yet I seem to “remember” something like this happening as a child when I played, perhaps at some rare moment when it all came together immensely well.

How my fingers, my whole body, knew where to go without thinking, without reading the notes. How it was almost as if the music was playing me, and I’m as much its instrument as is the piano. Or even more, as if we were playing each other–the score, my body, the piano–all playing together in unison, to create this “thing” we’ve become.

I don’t know if concert pianists feel this way about their music-making, if this is a memory of how it can be, or just some intense pleasure-making I’ve imagined when listening to some music that moves me, when I feel it flowing through me as if I were part of it, or it part of me.

And so I’m learning to play again, in this very painful, clumsy, halting way that all beginners experience, even those who once played before. Yet it’s still a thrill, touching fingers to keys, hearing the sound it makes vibrate through me.  I know I may never play so well in reality as I play in my mind/memory/imagination, but then I don’t have to. I already have it. That experience. I’m already “it.”

This patient, clumsy practice is just the homage I pay to what could be, and to the tremendous hard work needed to reach that point of perfection. Playing well is a rigorous undertaking. And the outcome of all that practice is not guaranteed.

But this thing I’ve heard and experienced when listening to the music of those who have reached this pinnacle, makes me want to at least attempt to master some measure of that kind of music-making. I want to practice enough to feel at some point the table turn, and my fingers become the mute instrument of the music at play.

Do you play a musical instrument? Does it play you?

Nothing Is Holier than a Beautiful, Strong Tree


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Recently a woman sent me a message on Facebook, commenting on my cover photo of the “glorious” tree roots intricately woven around rocks. She wondered where I found the photo. I told her I came upon the tree when hiking along a river in the mountains above Big Sur. Something about the tree and its rootedness arrested me, and inspired me so much I use it on several of my online sites. It’s gratifying that others are inspired by it as I have been. But trees have been an inspiration for artists and philosophers throughout the ages.

Recently I came across this quote from Hermann Hesse, the author of Siddhartha, on Zen Flash.

For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone.

They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche.

In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree…

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.”

~Hermann Hesse

The line I love most is how “they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves.” And that is “exemplary” as Hesse notes and denotes a kind of holiness, to  remind us all of the need to be true to ourselves, to find our singular purpose in being and struggle with all the force of our lives to fulfill it, regardless of whether anyone takes note of it or us at all.

That tree found growing along the bank of that creek may have gone unseen, unappreciated by human eyes, its entire lifespan, and yet it would have fulfilled its purpose nonetheless. That is its great strength, the thing that makes it exemplary, and holy. Simply being what one was meant to be suffices. Nothing else is needed.

Having said that, here’s a paradox: The tree cannot fulfill itself alone. It is dependent upon its entire environment to fulfill its purpose. Those stones that probably felt like such an obstacle when it was striving to grow from a sapling to a mighty oak is what helped shape it and distinguish it and perhaps even strengthen it. It is what drew me to the tree.

I found in it something almost indescribably beautiful and inspiring, how it used the very stones that blocked its roots to build a firm foundations, and how it in turn become the foundation of new growth, creating a home for the ivy and moss and lichens that grow upon it, giving shelter to the small animals and insects that burrow beneath. It exemplifies that interdependence by which we all live and shows how strength and vulnerability grow hand in hand to create beautiful lives. 

Here are a few more faces of this lovely tree.





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Other posts on trees you might like:

Walking in a Green Wonderland

My Roman Oaks

Endless Emerging Forms — Fog, Mist, and Trees

Learning What’s Needed to Be Healed


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Wikipedia Commons Mother_and_Child_-_Mary_Cassatt

I found this quotation at Zen Flash, and realized it’s just what I needed to hear.

Nothing ever really attacks us except our own confusion. Perhaps there is no solid obstacle except our own need to protect ourselves from being touched. Maybe the only enemy is that we don’t like the way reality is now, and therefore wish it would go away fast. But what we find as practitioners is that nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know. If we run a hundred miles an hour to the other end of the continent in order to get away from the obstacle, we find the very same problem waiting for us when we arrive. It just keeps returning with new names, forms, manifestations until we learn whatever it has to teach us about where we are separating ourselves from reality, how we are pulling back instead of opening up, closing down instead of allowing ourselves to experience fully whatever we encounter, without hesitating or retreating into ourselves.

~ Pema Chodron ~

Maybe it’s what all of us need to hear when troubling things keep popping up over and over again in our lives. They come for a reason, because we have something yet to learn.

I wrote in my blog post about major life changes how I put writing on hold to raise my children without the frustration that comes with constant interruptions. It seemed like the wise and selfless thing to do at the time, to wait until they were grown to write. Now I wonder. Especially since confronted with the same dilemma so many years later as I help raise my granddaughter.

Maybe what I need to learn is not to be “selfless” in putting aside the writing, but to examine why I feel such frustration at being interrupted, or why I feel I need uninterrupted time to write, or why I am so easily distracted? Or, contrarywise, why I feel writing is so important–some “sacred” task I must nurture in peaceful silence?

I don’t know the answer yet–what I have still to learn from this experience. But I want to examine it more closely, as Chodron advises:

Where am I separating myself from reality?

How am I pulling back instead of opening up?

How am I closing down rather than allowing myself to experience fully what I am encountering, without hesitation or retreating into myself?

What’s more, I find myself revisiting my relationship with my own children when they were young as I wrote about in my last blog post, looking at it through this new lens of raising a grandchild, as if there is something that needs re-examining? What is it I need to learn and set right? Or learn and let go?

Just yesterday a new hurt arose that echoed an old one from a year ago. This time I recognized immediately how here again was something repeating itself and challenging me to ask what I need to learn. And so I did ask, and learn. And the hurt melted away.

Why do we allow ourselves to be blindsided by these troubling repetitions, to think, oh no, here it is again, and suffer needlessly? Instead of seeing how they come to help us learn what’s needed, and be healed.

Grandparenting, Dark and Light


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Poetry Auger_Lucas_An_Allegory_of_PoetryI’m writing for the first time in months—my granddaughter started preschool today. She’ll be going twice a week now. I miss her already.

I haven’t had time for writing or anything else since she and her dad came to live with us five months ago. Caring for her has stirred up my world in all sorts of ways, and nothing has really settled yet. The past, the present, the future swirl around in my mind, some bright and sweet, some dark and scary.

I love her beyond words and we are very close, maybe too close.  What will happen when she and my son move out? Last week he took her unexpectedly for the day and my home seemed so empty and I felt so lost. I didn’t want to do anything—not write, nor read, nor clean, nor paint, nor walk, nor just sit and think, alone, undisturbed—all the things I wish I had time to do when she’s with me. I couldn’t wait till she came home so I could scoop her up and feel her small, sweet body melt into mine.

We spend our days playing and singing and dancing together. It’s filled with sweet cuddles and kisses, silly games puffing our cheeks and popping them together, playing with puzzles and legos and coloring and reading stories. We swim and pick roses and watch Disney movies together. Making up stories and pretending to be kittens and crocodiles. She loves to play hide and seek, where she hides in plain sight and I pretend I can’t find her while she laughs and giggles, and when I do find her, she demands—AGAIN!—and hides in the same place once more.

But by the afternoon, I’m tired. I’m wishing for a few moments alone. I’m wishing she could play by herself for longer than five minutes at a time, stopping her play to look for me, to demand to be held, to read a story, to come back into the room where she’s playing.

I try to get her to nap, but too often it’s late in the afternoon when she does, at 3 or 4 or 5, when I know doing so that late means she won’t want to go to sleep before 9 or 10. More often she doesn’t nap at all.

“Grandma needs quiet time I tell her,” time away from her is what I mean, but she doesn’t understand that, doesn’t understand that demanding my constant attention frazzles me as the day wears on. Even sitting her in front of the TV to watch cartoons (bad grandma!) doesn’t help as much as you’d think—every commercial she looks for me, and it’s the same with movies. “Come watch with me, Gwamma,” she says in her sweet, tender voice, pulling at my arm.  My heartstrings tug, and my nerves tighten.

And then there’s the tug-of-wills, where she tests my boundaries, doesn’t listen when I tell her to leave something alone, to not go in there, not do that. I haunt parenting advise forums on the internet looking for ways to discipline, to cope, to mellow.

What did I do when my children were young?

I don’t remember my daughter ever wearing on my nerves with the demand for constant attention, or defying my will the way my granddaughter does now. My son defied my will on a daily basis, but he wasn’t as demanding of my attention as she seems to be. Still, we had our tug-of-wars too. I remember one dark day when I needed him to take a nap so badly and he simply refused to stay in his room.  He’d come out, I’d put him in, he’d come out, I’d put him in, over and over again, like puppets in demented play, him crying and me yelling at first, then me crying and him yelling. I thought I was losing my mind. We were stuck in a hysterical repetition, like a broken record that would not stop. I don’t remember how it ended.

I do remember that I let him play in our fenced backyard by himself for long periods of time when he was a toddler, where he had a swing set, and sand box, and lots of toys. Something I can’t do with my granddaughter where we live now. Even so, he “escaped” several times, wandering off down the street—three years old—to visit grandma five blocks away, or to visit the little green store across a busy street.

Once a police officer brought him home to me. I hadn’t even known he’d gone missing.

I was a bad mother. If that had happened today, I would have been arrested. But things looked different back then. Children were encouraged to spend the day outdoors playing, to be independent. Little boys wandering off with a penny in his pocket to buy candy at the neighborhood store was “cute.” It showed his independence and adventurous spirit, not my poor parenting.

The thought of my little three-year-old granddaughter doing something like that today horrifies me. The thought of her living alone with her father on a busy street with chance of unlocked doors giving her access to the great outdoors makes me want to keep her here at home with me forever.

And yet, and yet, the other day my nerves were so frazzled I wanted to lock myself in a closet just to have a few moments alone without her, without hearing that sweet, tender voice calling out, “Gwamma, where are you?” And I wondered: Is this what drives some parents to lock their children in closets? The thought was so mind-chilling I wanted to sit down and cry.

Instead, I gathered my granddaughter in my arms and let her melt against me.

“I didn’t know where you were,” she tells me frowning, holding my face between her small hands.

“Don’t leave me,” she says, as she does several times every day.

“I won’t, baby,” I tell her. “I’m not going anywhere.”

But I will leave her. Or rather, she will leave me eventually, when her father finds a place for them to live that’s closer to town, closer to his work. Will she think I abandoned her, betrayed her?

Part of me longs for the peaceful life we had before they moved in. And part of me is terrified at the thought of them leaving.

Treasure what you have now, I tell myself. Don’t think about the past or the future. Now is where we are. Where my arms and heart are full. And while my poor nerves may get frazzled at times for want of the peace and quiet I sometimes crave, it cannot eclipse the wonder and joy of this child and how she fills my heart with light.

Living on the Edge of the Ghostly and Unexplained


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man in a dark forestThere’s so much in this world that surrounds us that we can hardly fathom, let alone explain. We keep bumping up against it, like looking into a mirror and seeing ghostly shapes of things all around us that are invisible in our daily lives. Are they real, or imagined, or do they dwell within the dark matter of the universe that haunts our psychic and scientific minds? Or if, as some say, all is consciousness, then are we merely peeking into the dark corners of our own inner space?

So much of what this blog is about is exploring those spaces, those ghostly, ethereal presences that lie all around us, some beautiful and serene, some dark and scary, some transcendent and awe-inspiring.

A couple of years ago I wrote a series of blogs about my experiences with some of those ghostly presences, the kinds that, if we are lucky, enter our homes only in costume on Halloween, when we make light of our darker fears. If only we could contain them there. Alas, we are not all so lucky.

Climb under the covers with me if you dare, and peek out into my own dreadful unknown. If you’ve had similar brushes with ghostly presences, I’d love to hear about them.

You can read the full series of true ghost stories at the links below.

The Face of Bliss, While Swimming


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DSCN0713Have you ever seen a more contented face? What is it about children and water that mixes together with such ease and delight?

I haven’t been posting lately,since my son and his two-year-old daughter have come to live with us. But I have spent a lot of time in our pool. When we first took our granddaughter swimming two months ago, she fell in love with the water. She was using a floatie then because she couldn’t swim. But now, two months later, she dives in head-first and swims across the pool and back all by herself (no floatie!). She does little twirling, acrobatic tricks that she makes up by herself, and she sings songs while floating on her back.

What she loves most of all is swimming under the water and diving deep to touch the bottom of the pool. She thinks she’s a mermaid–and so do we.

She’s absolutely fearless when she’s in the water, like it’s her natural element. And maybe that’s how it feels to her, so soon from the watery womb where she first swam. The look on her face when she swims is pure bliss–as I captured in the cover photo when she was still using the floatie.

I so relate to that look. I’m not the natural swimmer she is. And I’m far from being fearless in the water. But I spent a great deal of time on and under the ocean when we were sailing around the world. I spent hours every morning snorkeling with my daughter, foraging for food (rock scallops, mostly), while my husband and son went spear fishing. I felt at home in the water then, and I still do when swimming laps in our pool. There’s something about being suspended in that embracing space that feels like heaven on earth.

The passage below captures better than I can that sense of being so at home in the water:

When we swim we shed our higher consciousness, the complex, reasoning human organism, and remember, deep inside ourselves, the first oceanic living cell; we almost become our origins. Whether in lake, ocean, or pool, there comes that moment when the world of our ordinary preoccupations washes away and we sink into a meditative state where the instinctual, intuitive, subconscious mind can tell us what we need to know.

In the world of water, we become aware of our skin, of the body’s limits and definitions, while we are simultaneously wrapped in an element so familiar, so delightful, sensual that we feel we have come home.

—From Splash! Great Writing About Swimming by Laurel Blossom

I’m glad my granddaughter discovered the bliss of swimming early in life. I hope she never loses it.

Other water and swimming-related posts you might enjoy:

The Wildness of Water

Swimming Among the Stars

Water Holes in the Wild and Backyard