I’ve been wanting to air out my thoughts here, but I’ve:
#1 Been fighting the “blahs”
#2 Been having a few minor issues with my laptop, requiring me to:
a) Write without use of the letter following “b” in the alphabet, or
b) Use a dash (-) in words with the letter after “b” in it as a substitute
-) Hunt down the broken letter elsewhere on my ‘puter then follow a 3-step plan involving copying the letter and pasting it whenever I want to write a word with a “c” in it.
Needless to say, it’s been a nuisance to cope with which, in turn, reminds me of the reality that it is always the little things that seem to get under my skin the most.
The region where I live had been stuck in a tropical weather pattern for quite awhile, bringing with it over-the-top humidity, daily thunder showers, and lots of bugs. Biting, stingy, itchy bugs. The other day they dined on every bit of exposed flesh while I was out walking along the Killbuck. I’m sure I entertained the buzzy little pests with my arms flapping this way and that.
In fact, I think they may have viewed my efforts to shoo them off as challenge—like an insect sport to pass away time. I wonder how they would keep score?
*5 points for my wild dance steps out of the way of a gnat cloud.
*25 points for my contorted faces that tie directly in with the inhaling of a mosquito.
*50 points to the mosquito who gave up her life getting swallowed.
It was a long 3 mile walk. Final score: Bugs – 4,385 Nutty lady out walking – 0
Aside from being a skin-irritating nuisance, reality has also shown me that it’s the little things that feed my heart, mind and spirit. This holds true when I’m not feeling blah, yet is even more notably profound when I am, and seeking to find my way back to solid, stable contentment.
Water has always been a healing, restorative force. Much more than typical, I’ve found myself in it and around it this past month.
Record-setting rains have fallen, swelling the small streams far beyond their banks. During one particularly strong storm, I parked by the banks of the creek and waited for it to spill its banks. It is an experience that words can’t describe, yet the core of my being understands in being there when the winds laid the corn stalks down and threw tree branches in the road. The drops came hard, creating temporary rivers down the hillsides. It was cold, alive; it was Divine.
What got to me most came after the storm had passed. The creek had sprawled wherever it chose, then began returning to its bed. Gawkers showed up to witness the damage, a few in tall trucks drove through some areas the way I used to as a kid with my bicycle and puddles.
They all left quickly, but I stayed and watched water spiders skate down the washed-out road, seemingly unconcerned that their creek home wasn’t where it usually flowed. The fish were a different story. They were aware that they shouldn’t be swimming in a soybean field. In the deeper areas, the water rippled as they worked through their confusion in search of their home, and in the more shallow areas, I saw several fins and bodies, scooting and wriggling from one side of the road to the ditches on the other where they’d hitch a ride in the current.
Days later, the shape of the creek bed had transformed, revealing a new pattern of flow along with different stones for me to sort through. My fossil collection has expanded. Sedimentary, limestone, crinoids, trilobites, brachiopods, leaves, mussels…Imbedded imprints, intact pieces…Little things scarcely visible, yet real, alive, Divine.
The corn stalks were trying to stand tall again, and the mud-covered soybean plants held their ground, recovering Groups of minnows clustered in groups in water more clear and crisp than it had been just days before. Oh, and the river clams—I found two of them on the newly formed bank, alive and well. I moved them back into the water…
Last week I traveled down to a favorite branch off of the Mohican River three times. It’s a peaceful tributary, not accessed by tourist canoe fanciers and fisherman. Naturally, I internalized all the changes caused by the floods, and found some great fossils, but I also wore my “wet shoes” and stood in the heaviest areas of current watching my legs dictate the pattern of the water’s flow.
Then, I let the water dictate my flow. I opted for inner tube, as did Joe. Our friends brought a canoe, and for about five miles, I belonged to the river, and it belonged to me.
The sound of water is like breath, and its rhythm is the same as blood being pumped through a vein. It’s a feeling as opposed to something pictured or imagined. It just is.
Living fairly close to one of the Great Lakes is to experience what a heart must feel like as it beats. I found myself on the coast this past weekend. It was windy and the whitecaps were a distinct pleasure to witness.
I bypass fossil hunting along the shore of Lake Erie, opting for water-sculpted driftwood and sand in its place. I examine the smooth details of swirling line patterns of the wood with my fingers. The pieces are polished perfectly by the slurry of water and stirring sand. I see faces etched in the branches, sometimes. Those ones, I bring home.
Many different thoughts are revealed through sand. From a distance it looks like a carpet mottled in shades of whites and browns. Ground up stone, fish scales, and shells. Each grain is different up close. Each grain matters as a greater part of the whole, yet if one particle is missing, having been trapped in a shoe, or what-not, it doesn’t disrupt the uniformity of what is, yet it mattered for the time it spent on the shores of The Great Lake.
I often dream of flowing water, and all I find that’s a part of it. I encourage these brilliant manifestations by day. I welcome their transformation to my psyche at night, so I’m heading off to the Killbuck for a walk today. Got my bug spray handy this time.
Final stats: Nutty lady takes the win. Pesky insects find someone else to play with.