|'Reclamation' by Jason de Caires Taylor|
You wrap your fluid arms around volcanic uprisings, creating breathtaking oceanic chimneys, you allow for the spawning of new life. You dance with fire, together, for sacred creation, birthing new landscapes. You carve your way through anything, you go up and over and through, and nothing will stop you.
My molten core, in its own uprising, no longer able to keep containable below the surface. You surround me. Forge creation. Here and in daily life.
I am the beauty and danger of Yellowstone.
The heat and rumbling under the surface must burst, give way to new topography, new life.
You've called me to your oceans. Over and over.
You've spoken to me through your mist.
You buried one of mine on a hill, so, I could look out from his grave on the mountainside, to see your waves crest and fall, your endless churning, so as to stop me from even trying to make sense of his death.
In Hawaii, you made me crave you through a window, so much so, that I asked the front desk for a better scenic view, learning about a new life-giving selfish, I had never previously known-- but needed to know, for it was time to reclaim my power, instead of hiding the smolder under soft spoken, polite, demure, and cross-bearing sacrificial ewe-ing--and lots of cake.
Recently, you've been steering me toward calmer bodies of water. Lakes and streams hidden away in forests of pine. Perhaps it was time to get my land-legs after so long at sea.
You've shown me waterfalls that leap without fear, dance with the sunlight, creating glowing soft blues such as I've never seen.Creating soothing noise that fills up all the space. Drowning out the chiding noise in my mind eating away in me, filling my ears with a cleansing, continuous lullaby--back in the womb, where there is no need to control nature, just allow it to be.
You brought me to the third clearest lake in the world this weekend. We lay by the icy crystal clear waters soaking in the sun, nestling into sparkling salt and pepper sand.
Then, my daughters and I, set out on a quest around your shores, as I was determined to reach the other side of the lake that had been scalped by fire. Three musketeers moving around your edges, the littler ones guessing how long it would would take to swim across, interspersed with complaints about mom dragging us on this stupid hike. And the complaining wasn't little. I had to stand strong. Come Hell or high water--which there would be both--we were going.
Half-way through, the lake beckoned the girls for a swim. There was a raft secured out in the lake where the girls could sunbathe. One made it. The other got leg deep, ready with fruit snacks to bring to her sister on the raft, but couldn't brave the cold or the slimy.
Hell came when it was time to get back on the trail. Their promised cooperation to continue with the hike after the swim was broken. I pressed us on like a mama wolf.
When we arrived to the burnt out section of the trees, there was fiery anger and a desert of salty tears.
"You made us walk all the way to see this?!"
We felt together the ghosts of our own being ravaged by fire--how life had been too hot to handle lately, how hot and painful it felt right now.
At the height of the drama, I doubted my strength to lead--how familiar-- but something kept me going to see what was up around the bend. Something Wild wouldn't let me turn back, no matter the deep, dark, heaviness of the pleas to turn back.
Around the bend, from the middle of the scorching tree graveyard, the water appeared like a cool crystal jewel. We decided to go off path, draw a straight line down to the water. We used fallen trees as balance beams, swung our legs over others like giant horses, avoided the sharp daggers of limbs that threatened to stab us with one false move.
Something happened then. The complaining stopped. The focus was impeccable. The Wildness surrounded us and the three of us became of one mind A holy trinity of sisters. We were no longer fighting to be sovereign, but fighting to survive a wilderness bigger than us. Sensing the seriousness of a power that ravaged an entire forest, leaving it blank, reminding us of the forces that could change an entire landscape in the blink of one hot smoldering eye, and we marched right through, focused on our destination, but finding this new climb remarkable and interesting--no easy pavement, no sure way to go to remain safe.
I believe we reached the water more alive together than we'd ever been.
Shedding the heaviness of so many months of half-lived,war torn in our littleness, exchanging it here for one big dose of wilderness which brought us literally to our senses and even to our knees.
In the water we found a reward of an oasis of cool water and soft sand under our feet.
We waded out, making our way to a small island of rocks, baptized with presence. Bubbling up joy. Perhaps reborn from the ashes, renewed with the Wild, alive, alert.
My younger daughter played in the shallow, touching dry ground every so often. I think she has an innate ability toward balance, equal footing on solid ground, and openness to the watery depths of life.
My older daughter was bursting with unbridled happiness as the two of us made our way out to the rocks. Perhaps the perfect sojourn for two who've been so keen to lock horns, too much, as of late.
After a display of exhilarating breathlessness and squeals that dark shapes, slippery rocks and fallen trees can rev up in an adolescent girl, we stopped to take in the scenery, our bodies part of the glistening lake.
I asked her if she had arrived.Was she there? Was she seeing this? She listened captive, like she had not for a very long time. I saw her look out at the mountains and breathe them in. I saw my little one as an almost-woman, who saw. She listened, because I was telling myself. Life was happening now. This was it. There was no past or future. She sensed this. Presence was shared.
I was not trying to contain her, I was inspiring her. Making her aware of the universe within her, that when opened and free, somehow reached out and touched the scenery, like a radar, bouncing back to the body to vibrate with the truth of existence that cuts through the biting and prodding of the mind. And she experienced it whole-- not through the meant-to-be-metaphor for the real thing--not through the spoken word, through moving pictures or photograph, but through her direct experience of her very flesh and blood touching the stuff.
Life lived, not just the appearance of it. Perhaps this is what it has all been pointing to.
Where I used to focus on Love, and not just this appearance of it--this was only a stepping stone to fully living and experiencing--when the camera pans out, and it is much more majestic than one could ever have imagined when focused on such a small part of the picture.
And there I was, the life-giving mother, having given birth to these children, and yet, having felt so war-torn for so long. Yet, I was perhaps the most gifted with life, with renewal, with perspective--with faith that the natural world had my back and the power to soothe my molten insides.
Sacred water, my baptism of Grace, and my Resurrection. Our resurrection. And perhaps we need to be resurrected often. Perhaps it isn't a one-time thing. Perhaps that is why Jesus didn't stay. His patience might have been eroded by daily living, and it wouldn't have made for as good of a story if he'd had to be resurrected because of the stress of a tax audit.
On our way back to camp,my girls pointed out that the path had magically shrunk in size! So had the pond where the girls had been swimming to the raft. My older daughter remarked that the raft had looked much farther away before! Or maybe they'd grown up a little.
There was happy chatter all the way back to camp. My favorite miracle was my girls thanking me for forcing them to go--chronicling what they would have missed--feeling something different.
My Geronimo moment revealed: as a mother, a friend, a lover, a creator. My warrior moment. No matter how much they resist me, no matter how much I resist myself. I must remain strong. I must seek out clear waters. I must learn from the ghosts of a forest scourged by the fire. I must trust the eruptions within my core when my heart is pure. I must heed that life-giving voice within that knows. I must trust this voice. It is the only true gift I can give anyone. I must respect the Wild Nature that transforms us from many, into one mind and one heart.
As we practically floated back to camp in blissful connection, which I'm honestly not sure we've ever experienced to that extent post one-years-old, my younger daughter found some fallen moss and made herself a ring. I told her she was married to the Forest. She laughed and truly loved this notion. Not as icky as little boys in her class apparently:) She found some darker moss and made and emerald. But, of course.
One of my favorite magical moments was when my daughters were describing their experience at a water park, and at one point my older daughter was trying to describe an inner tube, but couldn't think of the word. Without missing a beat or footstep, she reached down and picked up a wreathe of moss, already fashioned in the shape of an inner tube. As if nature were fully participating and supporting her expression of her joy, giving her visual aids!!!
On the way home, I felt us cleansed of the fire, the heaviness of many months of conflict and strife. We touched Wildness and it fed our souls. It stopped our silly little tempest minds and dwarfed their puny storms.
There is one more thing. Out in the water my daughter picked up a fallen tree. She said, "Mom, here is your scepter." She handed it to me. Inspired by the fourth book of The Maeve Chronicles, by Elizabeth Cunningham, Red Robed Priestess, (which you really must read, if you haven't). I picked the scepter up and struck it forcefully into the bottom of the lake saying, 'This here is the center of the world.' I told her to do it to, and to feel it. She did, and it was powerful to behold.
And in that moment it was the center of the world. It was where all our power was. It was where all of our love lived. It was ripe for the taking, and I make a vow to remember--to stay strong--to feel my scepter touching the earth, in power, in presence, renewed in each moment.
Thank you, Sacred Water. Sacred river, leading me home.