Water has no history. The waves are one and connected to every drop –
deep or shallow – all the way to the moon.
We shore dwellers try to map life’s passage: tracking the tides, measuring
the floods, paying attention to our own seasons, marking the rises and falls of our times. These things we must do. We are
not water. But we are made up by so much of it.
I dove into the Kinderhook Creek today after a 3 mile walk. Plunged into a
deep chasm in the creek that I have known since I could know. The water is a part of me, and I am a creature of that part
of the world. A place where the water waits for me.
I felt alive for the first time in a long time. And I felt small in a good
way. I was a frog surfacing in a pond…
And the water has waited. Maybe two years have past since I went swimming in
“The Creek”. Odd, since I was thrown into that water at 5 and went on to swim constantly for the next 15 years.
From a child to a teen, I swam.
I went to college because Morrisville College
had two important things: a very good name and a pool. (I found other things important there as well.)
Later, I felt freedom and identify with the water and spent many years visiting
that creek. In every season.
Spring when it was muddy and churning to fish for trout in April. To dare to
jump in during May. To tire tube in June while the water was still high but warmer.
In July, to hold onto mossy rocks and lay in the water just below the surface
during a thunderstorm - to hear the muffled booms above and see the silver meteorites of rain penetrate, just a few inches,
the brown surface of the stream.
July to August: To see the long light of afternoon dappled through the trees
above Rider’s Mills, to participate in the summer day, and feel and smell and escape the heat in that bend of water
– flipped off ropes, launched out of trees or wading though a toe sucking march of mud.
Fall –when the bottom turns and releases the algae and goes cold and
reflective, knowing the year is ending. Finally freezing in winter. A tomb of ice on top, but still moving, still beckoning.
All this water I have ignored, gone passed or avoided. For many reasons.
I finally sat outside tonight. Summer. The half moon shone the way for the
high clouds to move on. Summer: heated and swirling. The mid summer night dreams are intoxicating with the smell of corn and
the lightening bugs and light fog rising.
The past five years have been times of chasing the wind and floating on the
current to see where it will take me. I needed that, I suppose. But through it, my connections to the land, streams and people
in Rider’s Mills have become more important and more obvious. I am a shore dweller here whose roots grow deeper –
nurtured by my friends and faith in this place.
Mortality is affecting its hostile take over. I am reading with glasses now,
and my twin brother has his innards trying to break out, and his knees going on strike on a regular basis. These things we
must face as the water rolls past.
I see my friends doing things. Avid bicyclists who rode 100 miles in a day
– just for the sake of it. Beaten, triumphant and proud at the end. Amazing.
Another friend who had the vision and tenacity to work for 11 years to restore
an airplane which we finally watched fly (AND LAND) successfully on water and on terra firma. Wonderful stories and accomplishments.
I have not put my energy into these types of things. I have cultivated people and relationships, but not anything tangible
that I can define for myself.
I have moved and sailed so much. To try to have some consistency and work on
my house, and have a steady life for a bit, I have accepted a job with the New York State Workers Compensation Board. I will
be holding meetings and writing things. I was offered a chance to do things on purpose for awhile.
I like that. I need that.
I am grateful for the fact I learned to swim where the shale slides into the
creek and on the other side men ground crops into commerce.
I always expected life to take me out to a larger sea. And it has. But I rowed,
portaged, and paddled back. This is my home port.
I look around and need to stop avoiding joining the stream. I need to build
my own boat. The banks that seemed to confine the water only define things so we can understand where we are.
Time to just dive in. And not float anymore. I’ll try to keep my head
up and swim towards the other shore with a purpose. Always mindful of the stream…