Water Bearer is my chosen spirit name. I am an Aquarius in the astrological chart, so it feels right. The many images of young girls and women carrying water from the well have always intrigued and satisfied me. I can feel the dust on my feet, the lightness of the empty vessel, and the struggle to lift it once full. I can imagine the journey to the well -- hot sun on my face, maybe wishing I had started out earlier to avoid the heat of the day. Was the water sweeter when the effort of bearing it was done with a glad heart? Was there a brackish taste if the task was done with resentment and anger?
One of my favorite writing prompts included the word apprehend. I checked the dictionary to be sure I was clear about its meaning, and found I did understand it as used today. But "to grasp, to understand, to arrest, and to fear" still seem like mundane words to explain a much bigger concept.
When I was in the habit of attending church, and studied scripture, I often heard the phrase “apprehending the Mystery.” And when I moved to a different paradigm and sat with meditation groups or new age practitioners, I found the concept there as well.
We lost a big Podocarpus tree (aka fern pine) in the winds earlier this year, and when it came down it almost took out a young lime tree. The same heavy winds took down a limb of an old bottle brush tree which, in turn, took out our power line and blew out the transformer in our neighbor's yard. It was a mess. In the middle of the night we had the roaring wind, the fire department, and the water and power people here. The live wire that came down was secured, and although we were without power for awhile, it didn't last long. In the days that followed, still in the midst of the pandemic lockdown, we had electricians and gardeners putting us back together and hauling away debris. We had some major pruning done, as one does after so much drama, trying to prevent a repeat should the winds return.
When I was very young and couldn’t get to sleep, or was bored, I would imagine that I had found a little house that was very shabby and very dirty. I resolved to clean it, and the only tool I ever imagined I needed was a washcloth and some water. But I felt that if I were just careful enough, diligent enough, I could by sheer intent bring the house back to itself.
I had this fantasy for many years. In fact, I’ve always approached a new challenge that interested me with that same attitude. Just go carefully, take your time, pay attention, and you’ll get there. No matter if you have the right tools, or the basic understanding of the task. Pay attention and you will figure it out. The key to this approach has always been the word ‘interest’. And there are a lot of things I really have no interest in. Like how a telephone works, or how to solve a calculus problem, or the granularity of computer programming.
We have been at home, in home, home, and confined to home, for one year. We have ventured out only to make sure our car battery was charged, to make sure the gas tank was full, and, well, that's about it. We are now 72 and 79, having each, of course, celebrated birthdays. I make an apology here for all the commas. But life is full of commas, semi-colons, and full-stops, and we just have to deal. We have been dealing.
I had the good fortune to participate in a meditation via Zoom yesterday. It isn't easy to access a meditative state in today's world, much as I know it's good for me (my blood pressure actually dropped 20 points) and that it is a practice that is not only personally beneficial, but like a pebble dropped in a pond, has ripples far beyond our knowing.
I understand from wise women I have known, that sometimes what looks like an unfortunate and inconvenient experience, is, in actuality, a sign of good luck. For instance, if a seagull happens to drop something on your brand new sweater, that's a good sign. Or, if you find a lemon seed in your apple pie, that's an indication that you are special. Or, if you are holding a baby and the diaper leaks, you have received a blessing. These were not easy lessons to learn as a child, but they have certainly made me into an annoying grandmother.
Responses to such occurrences, or similar ones, by the person who has had her sweater soiled, or bit down on a lemon seed, or had to change the baby AND her own clothes, is not likely to be kindly to your declaration of "Oh but that's good luck! Or a blessing!". In my long years of experience, I have found that those assurances of good luck, or blessing, are met with a grimace or a hollow laugh.
Daily ablutions are undertaken carefully once one passes 70 years of age. Still necessary, of course, and certainly still required for those with whom one shares a living space. Never more important than now, in these times of excessive restriction. Changing the sheets comes under this category, as well. It's not as easy as it once was, in either case. But work that must be undertaken and effectively completed.
What isn't necessarily expected is a failure of one's assistants in the act of performing the same tasks for one's dishes or one's sheets. We have had a failure of assistance in both of those instances in this time of 'sequestering'. Our washing machine gave out early on -- I think it was in March or April of this astonishing year. Since it lives in the garage, there was no need for a repair person to enter the house, which was somewhat comforting.
My trust is rusted, and it continues to flake and crumble at a more alarming rate every single day. Went out for a short drive to the US post office today. And it really is a very short drive. Just under 3 miles. Traffic was pretty busy, too. At noon on a Wednesday, during a pandemic, nothing looked different. Very few people were actually wearing masks as they were out walking. Same old irritation also evident by drivers who were held back by others actually going the speed limit on a city street. But a new, more alarming, rush of fear as some young driver in an expensive, black Infinity, slashed in and out of traffic like he was playing a video game. There were the old corrosive fumes, the weariness accompanied by frustration; but a new kind of fear. I can only tell you why I think this is. For me, this new fear, this new erosion of trust, comes from a general lack of control over anything in life.
These days I feel more like a groan up than a grown up. You know what I mean. Our times are tough. Very tough politically and environmentally for sure, even before the pandemic hit us. Now in my part of the world we are grappling with heat and wild fires as well. So many burdens to carry, and so little chance to talk it over, face to face, since we have been social distancing for months; especially those of us who are older. No spur of the moment coffee hours, or lunches. No family entertaining. If we have a visitor or two, it's from a distance and always outside. They bring their own food and drink. It's a bizarre way to host our guests. When we do connect, we have to spend a certain amount of time saying how bad things are, how impossible everything seems to be. How powerless we feel.