Sunday, August 26, 2007

the swamps of home

Lately, it's been about water.

It's been a cruise that takes us on a honeymoon--with ships, with kayaks. It's been salmon spawning and jellyfish globes just beneath the surface. It's been spotting whales using immense camera lenses and drinking nothing but water on the ship (OK, Korbel and a few Alaskan Ambers, I will admit). It's been feeling cleansed by drinking all that water, by being surrounded.

It's been hail that wakes us at four thirty in the morning on our wedding day. It's been gathering the cats, listening to the wail of the tornado siren, never hearing this before at this hour, sending the dogs out because they are too excited to know when it's too dangerous to linger (they think it's a treat, early morning play time). It's been watching that storm cross, the angry red blob on the radar, it's been falling back asleep only to wake again to drizzle, pouting at the window, thinking of an outdoor ceremony and the photographs you've been waiting your whole life to see. It's the bright sun that comes out for just that time, then hail again during the reception, great globes banging against the walls, leaving messages on car roofs, winging in on the dance floor.

It's been a bridge that flattens a river. It's been taking the dogs to the river, thinking about the slow removal of wreckage, an hour upstream. It's been looking at the barges, waiting to get through. It's been the change in traffic, the pattern of daily lives. It's been the body count, finding the ends of lives beneath the river. It's the thirteen gone, and those that survived. It's the friends that helped carry stretchers up riverbanks.

It's the glaciers we saw in Alaska. It's the way they are receding, filling the lakes and oceans. It's the way our landscape is changing--how in Juneau, in something like a dozen years, Douglas Island will no longer be an island from all the milky silt sifting to the bottom of the channel. It's the way New Orleans was immersed in water and how they say it may be silly to rebuild exactly there, how the land is drifting into the water. It's been about the water bottle debate in the news, about recycling and becoming more green.

And now, it's the water that seeps into homes. It's the flooding of rivers, the shock of cool water to the armpits, the images of a place where you lived once--how it all looks like a messy garage sale, everyone's lives piled up in the front yard. How you admire one of your favorite people who has been helping those relief efforts (and now, with a little wound to prove it). It's driving by the soccer field, days later, nothing left in it to give; it's the FEMA relief and the troops being sent out and the roads being closed.

It's about the humidity that changes the tuning of a harpist in Winona. It's about closing your eyes in that high ceilinged church and being grateful for what I do have. It's about making decisions to change, to accept the beauty of where I am going, of what the future may or may not hold and all the blessings of exactly this moment. It's about not being afraid, of thinking of the cycles, of the gentle tides and the sounds of ocean or gentle rain. It's about deep breaths, knowing your body, knowing how lately, it has all been about water.


Lizzie said...

I have a hate/love relationship with water. And as I write this, NPR is doing a story on the flooding in Rushford, MN.
I fear water for its destructive nature, have had recurring nightmares about drowning. But I am also soothed by it sometimes, in the shower or bath, listening to the ocean waves, waking up to soft rain.
Your post is well-written (as usual) and beautiful.

tumblewords said...

A wonderfully well-written and imaged post.