Thursday, May 24, 2012

the voice of many waters

Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below —what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.

  One of the strange silver linings of living in a dying town is even the peons have access to cheap rent within walking distance of the lake. It is true that most of our lakefront is cut off by highways and salt mines and the homes of the affluent, but to have the simple primal pleasure of being near rocks and water, it is there, and we make use of it. It keeps us alive, keeps us from killing ourselves, lets us clear our heads. Is it some kind of thing wired in us to love rivers, oceans, lakes, to live near them, to drink and baptize and immerse, because they are our lifeblood, we would die without what they give.
The rational side of my weird brain knows that these moments of extra intense melancholia have their reasons and that they'll pass, that feelings and reality are not always congruent, and so I let the waterworks dry up and went to the park where the rocks and water are, and walked down, navigating the concrete breakers and the scrubby trees growing between the boulders that keep the shoreline from washing away.

I try not to think of all the people who used to come down here with me, all the memory of this place,  I try not to think of the occasionally encroaching loneliness that hovers closer like a bird of prey each year.

The waves were too high to walk across to the beach of pebbles beneath the cliffs so I made my way to a flat rock not completely soaked by water, far enough to not infringe upon someone doing the same thing. And I sat there for a couple hours at least, in non-yogic quiet meditation, silently pouring out my soul to the creator of all this beauty, seeking some kind of oneness with indescribable longing, with the waves breaking and the water undulating through watering the deep green moss on the sides of the rock where I perched, taking a break only to grab a sweater out of the car as the sun sank lower and changed from orange to pink.

The water in this lake may be dirty, and I haven't swam in it since I was in my teens, but there was this cathartic cleansing in the moment, of the sense of smallness of one's self and one's inner drama in the face of elementals that made me realize I should seek out this place and others like it much more than I do.

Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

I walked up to the top of the hill to watch the swollen pink sun sink into the violet waters, with the sounds of the birds and the sweet smell from the honey locust trees, we were all enraptured by the newest installation of the endless cycle, the teenage girl scrawling in a notebook, the Muslim family on the park bench, the dead ringer for latter-day Kerry King, the couple with the big hair and the couple embracing on the breakwall, and the old man on his night walk. As the light vanished, we walked back to our cars, back to the neighborhood, experiencing some small moment of transcendence.

For the grace of the presence, be grateful.
Touch the cloth of the robe,
but do not pull it toward you,
or like an arrow it will leave the bow.
Images. Presence plays with form,
fleeing and hiding as the sky does in water,
now one place, now nowhere.
Imagination cannot contain the absolute.
These poems are elusive
because the presence is.
I love the rose that is not a rose,
but the second I try to speak it, any name
for God becomes so-and-so, and vanishes.
What you thought to draw lifts off the paper,
as what you love slips from your heart.
 - rumi



  2. Non-yogic isn't very boosterrific.


  3. I wasn't even going to mention "burning river" until R.G. started shouty-facing.

  4. dmf,
    this stuff is always entertaining.

    I don't know it's pretty boosterific to have constant quasi-spiritual experiences on the shores of Fair Clevelandia.

    that's the top-selling image at the Cleveland Memory Project. Everyone loves the Burning River! We even named beer after it.

  5. This is a beautiful post.

    For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
    it's always ourselves we find in the sea
    ~ e.e. cummings