Through the Waters

A Mobile Cave

A person reading a book inside a tent made of books
Photo Credit: Joel Robinson

Where do you find refuge? Who or what finds refuge in you?

I had been thinking a few weeks ago about my dog. He humors me in so many ways, but one of those is the way he acts according to his "denning" instinct (the instinct dogs have inherited to seek caves or other places of shelter). My dog seems to find and make shelter anywhere, including acting as though a desk, a big pillow, or a wheelchair is his den home.

Yes, that's right, a wheelchair. He will crawl under a wheelchair and fall asleep beneath it for a nap. If the person in the wheelchair begins to move or rotate, he continues to lie there as though the wheelchair is his very own mobile cave. That's exactly the thought that went through my mind as I watched him engaged in this a few weeks ago: "How funny. He's made a mobile cave."

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The Warmest Winter

Winter river in Yosemite
Photo Credit: Jim Werner's River in Yosemite National Park, CA CC BY 2.0

I thought I was staving off death. Little did I know that I was cooperating with life.

Many months ago, I decided to buy a few jasmine vines and place them in flower beds on the small patio where I live. Not knowing much at all about gardening, I was hesitant to believe that they would even grow beyond their original few-feet height when I bought them. I told myself that they looked fine with their dark green vines, lack of flowers notwithstanding. I kept watering them every now and then... every now and then for months, and months, and months, with no signs of new life. I thought I was staving off death; little did I know that I was cooperating with life. It's only been within the past few weeks that something started to happen that took me by complete surprise: they've started to multiply by growing bright green branches.

What has been my new fascination throughout this process? Seasons.

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Voice

A person's open palm, with dust above it
Photo Credit: Kunj Parekh

When you lose your voice, you think a lot about voices. The voices that echo within you and the voices that used to. The voices that form a sound cave around you and the voices that make a home within you. The voices that become you and the voices you become.

I didn't think it would go so completely. It had shaken and wavered and gone in and out while I taught yesterday. Then I woke up this morning and found myself reduced to a whisper. I wasn't too reflective about it, at first. I had been sick for the past few days, and this was the natural outgrowth of that, just a temporary hoarseness, right? I could shrug and laugh about it, drink some tea, and go through the motions of my morning. That is, of course, until something screeched me to an inner halt on my drive to work. I was listening to a podcast while I drove, and a line from the talk struck me like unwelcome lightning: "Have you lost your voice and simply become a part of the noise?" In an instant, I was all ears.

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