As he [Sir Malcolm Sargeant, conductor of the London Philharmonic] stood in waist deep in the shallows of Whaler’s Cove, the littler Spinners came drifting over, sleek and dainty, gazing at him curiously with their soft dark eyes. Malcolm was a tactful, graceful man in his movements, and so the spinners were not afraid of him. In moments, he had them all pressing around him, swimming into his arms, and begging him to swim away with them. He looked up, suffused with delight, and remarked to me, “It’s like finding out there really are fairies at the bottom of the garden!”
― Karen Pryor, Lads Before the Wind: Diary of a Dolphin Trainer
A thousand grandmothers ago
Pyrrha and Deucalion repopulated
the world with rocks, bones of mother Earth,
a generation of my ancestors strained
from the mud of a drowned planet.
But I’m more interested in my earliest
grandmothers, their gills and wetness,
before they crawled from that blue expanse
and learned to carry the sea within them,
in their cells, between their cells, in their eyes.
The buoyancy of ocean has never left us.
It hides in skin’s complex reservoir
where we’re selectively permeable
and our bodies exchange the smallest life.
If we had no need to distinguish ourselves
from others we’d be missing the skin
that defines lovers and enemies
and opens itself to both.
Faith is a state of openness or trust. To have faith is to trust yourself to the water. When you swim you don’t grab hold of the water, because if you do you will sink and drown. Instead you relax, and float. And the attitude of faith is the very opposite of clinging to belief, of holding on. In other words, a person who is fanatic in matters of religion, and clings to certain ideas about the nature of God and the universe, becomes a person who has no faith at all. Instead they are holding tight. But the attitude of faith is to let go, and become open to truth, whatever it might turn out to be.
Half of me is filled with bursting words and half of me is painfully shy. I crave solitude yet also crave people. I want to pour life and love into everything yet also nurture my self-care and go gently. I want to live within the rush of primal, intuitive decision, yet also wish to sit and contemplate. This is the messiness of life – that we all carry multitudes, so must sit with the shifts. We are complicated creatures, and ultimately, the balance comes from this understanding. Be water. Flowing, flexible and soft. Subtly powerful and open. Wild and serene. Able to accept all changes, yet still led by the pull of steady tides. It is enough.
Sometimes by a woodland stream he watched the water rush over the pebbled bed, its tiny modulations of bounce and flow. A woman’s body was like that. If you watched it carefully enough you could see how it moved to the rhythm of the world, the deep rhythm, the music below the music, the truth below the truth. He believed in this hidden truth the way other men believed in God or love, believed that truth was in fact always hidden, that the apparent, the overt, was invariably a kind of lie.
“People imagine that missing a loved one works kind of like missing cigarettes,” he said. “The first day is really hard but the next day is less hard and so forth, easier and easier the longer you go on. But instead it’s like missing water. Every day, you notice the person’s absence more.”
Imagine for a moment a world without the color green. What a sad place! What does green mean to us?
The modern English word green is derived from the same Germanic root as the words grass and grow. No color is more tied to nature or life itself. Spring is the season when the world seems to exult in viridescence, as chlorophyll surges to convert increased sunlight into growth. Green is connected not only to sunlight, but to water, which lies in droplets upon leaves and is processed by hidden roots into verdant foliage and colorful blossoms. Other colors may crown plants, but green predominates the landscape. Lizards, insects and other animals camouflage their bodies into this varied and brilliant green canvas of life.
We humans, who are not by nature green things, are drawn to green. Emerald, jade, grasshopper, artichoke, asparagus, teal, olive, mint, avocado– so many shades. Not only do we love green and its promise of continuing life, we use it as a metaphor for aspects of the human condition. Youth, growth and fertility are counterbalanced by death, jealousy and sickness. Thus green reminds us that there is no change without death, no growth devoid of failure. A naive person is green, like an unripe fruit. Green is also a color of safety, one that tells us when to move forward, and yet a color of risk. After all, it was in a garden gleaming with green that Eve was tempted.
# 5 Pregnant
Science tells us that green is light with a wavelength of roughly 495–570 nm, the color lying between blue and yellow on the visible spectrum. But surely green is much more.