Art attack challenge

(Each Drop of Water)

I don’t expect I’ll become famous for my collages. But I couldn’t resist the suggestion found at The X Facta.

There’s a quote that has been showing up in my life quite frequently over the past few weeks. I first stumbled across it in a book. Then it showed up in a blog somewhere. Then in a movie and then again in another movie and a television program.

It’s what I think of as the Yosemite quote. I have photos that I took while visiting Yosemite last April, but I didn’t use them. It was more fun to sit down and do a collage using that old pile of magazines I should’ve tossed long ago. I can’t remember the last time I did a collage. The blurriness of the photo was intentional.

Here’s the quote:

…the water comes down like a curtain thrown from the top of the mountain. It does not seem to come down swiftly, as you might expect; it seems to come down very slowly because of the distance. And the water does not come down as one stream, but is separated into many tiny streams. From a distance it looks like a curtain. And I thought it must be very difficult for each drop of water to come down from the top of such a high mountain. It takes time, you know, a long time, for the water finally to reach the bottom of the waterfall. And it seems to me, that our human life may be like this. We have many difficult experiences in our life. But at the same time, I thought, the water was not originally separated, but was one whole river. Only when it is separated does it have some difficulty in falling. …after we are separated by birth from this oneness, as the water falling form the waterfall is separated by the wind and rocks, then we have feeling. You have difficulty because you have feeling, you attach to the feeling you have without knowing just how this kind of feeling is created. When you do not realize that you are one with the river, or one with the universe, you have fear. Whether it is separated into drops or not, water is water. Our life and death are the same thing. When we realize this fact we have no fear of death anymore, and we have no actual difficulty in our life.

— Shunryu Suzuki Roshi (writing about one of the waterfalls of Yosemite in his book Zen Mind Beginner Mind)

Our visit to Yosemite involved what might be considered a spiritual experience for me. That might also be true for M the Elder but I can’t speak for him. I know the man who was our guide (a friend) referred to our night of exploring under the full moon as a “religious experience.” It was unexpected, that full moon exploration. We were there with the previously mentioned friend-as-guide and our time was limited to about 24 hours. We’d had a lovely dinner with lots of lovely wine. The weather had been lousy, lots of snow, rain, and fog. But when we finished dinner and stepped outside we found the sky clear and a full moon shining down on us. In a spur of the moment decision, we decided to hike around and have a look at some of the waterfalls in the moonlight. (Disclaimer: I don’t highly recommend this if you’ve had lots of lovely wine at dinner, but we did manage okay, mostly because we stayed on the main trails.) Like any spiritual or enlightening experience, this one is not easy to pin down or put into words so I’m not going to attempt to do so.

It was an amazing sight, all that water rushing down from the mountain, sparkling and glowing in the light of the moon. We walked up as close as possible, even in the cold, letting ourselves get soaked from the spray of the water as it hit the pool at the bottom. Each individual drop of water was visible in that spray, shining on its own in the moonlight.


Question of the day

(Kent Bog. June 11, 2006.)

Yesterday Kel asked:

where does the path lead to now?

The short answer is: Wherever I want to go. Circumstances and life often lead me a certain way, but even that has something to do with choices I make. Still and all, I’m not sure where the path will lead now. All I know for sure is that I intend to make the most of it. I’m getting too old not to. Not that I consider myself ancient or anything. Just old enough to know that life is what you make of it. Perhaps it doesn’t matter where the path leads. Getting lost and taking detours are part of what make the whole journey so interesting.

In a few weeks my husband and I will be turning our home over to our youngest son (who will be house sitting for us) while we spend the next 6-7 months living in a new place. We’re moving back east while my husband is on sabbatical. We’ll be living in Pennsylvania. He’ll be working just over the border of Pennsylvania in Delaware.

We’ll be closer to family and friends than we’ve ever been during our 30+ years of marriage. I’m looking forward to getting to know my family a little better. I was very young when I married and moved away. I often feel as if I don’t really know any of my family at all (or that they know me). It’ll be good to get to know my brothers and my sister, to spend more time with my parents.

I haven’t yet decided what I’ll be doing while we’re out there, at least not in terms of work. My main focus to begin with will be to heal as I don’t think work will even be possible as long as I continue in this pain. Hopefully the MRI next week will start me on the road to recovery or at least give me an idea of which directions I can take.

M the Elder and I had an appointment with the eye doctor this morning. We’re both due for new glasses on the new prescription plan. I think we’re becoming a lot like the older (and elderly) patients I see in the pharmacy — we travel together on our health journeys (doctor, dentist, etc.). It’s more efficient that way, I suppose.

I took a short walk around the pond this afternoon. It’s a gorgeous day out there. Bright, sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and unseasonably warm. This must be our Indian Summer for the season.

An early American writer described Indian Summer well when he wrote, “The air is perfectly quiescent and all is stillness, as if Nature, after her exertions during the Summer, were now at rest.” This passage belongs to the writer John Bradbury and was written nearly an “eternity” ago, back in 1817. But this passage is as relevant today as it was way back then. The term “Indian Summer” dates back to the 18th century in the United States. It can be defined as “any spell of warm, quiet, hazy weather that may occur in October or even early November.” Basically, autumn is a transition season as the thunderstorms and severe weather of the summer give way to a tamer, calmer weather period before the turbulence of the winter commences. — William R. Deedler, Weather Historian (From Just What is Indian Summer and Did Indians Really Have Anything to do with it?)


I was surprised by the quiet and relative calm. There was a slight and very nice breeze blowing the leaves about, rustling the dry grasses and trees, and rippling the water. The pond was amazingly clean and clear. It took me a little while to realize what was so odd about this walk. I’m used to encountering other creatures — fish, frogs, snakes, turtles, birds, etc. — but not today. I heard a red-tailed hawk whistling in the distance, but didn’t see one bird, one fish, one turtle, one anything. Even the neighbors, normally noisy with their mowing, chain-sawing, and who knows what else, were missing from this auditory scene.

I had a seat on the stump of a tree and soaked up the peace and the quiet to carry with me for the rest of the day.

Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air – explode softly – and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either – not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination. ~Robert Fulghum

NaBloPoMo: Day 9