For the past five years, as the New Years begins, I’ve chosen a word for the year, or sometimes rather, let it choose me – to stroll with, ponder, and reflect upon. This year my word is water. At first, I wasn’t too thrilled with this word. Wasn’t sure about it. What was I going to do with water? Seemed like a small and not very exciting or enthralling word. Over the past 8 months, however, it has worked its magic – weaving, flowing, moving, instructing, teaching – so much so, that I think it may now be my favorite word.
I’m particularly present with it now as I spend a week long holiday on the shores of Lake Chelan in Eastern Washington. Daily gazing out on the waterfront from the deck of our rental condo, playing in it off the shores of the beach, standing on it as the paddleboard holds me afloat, floating on it as I read my book in a very comfortable lounge type floatie, diving into it as I cool my body off from the 90 plus degree weather.
Water, as I look out upon it daily, soothes my soul and quiets the worries and tensions I hold within myself. I’m able to let go a little bit more. To ease into my life, myself. Water holds many memories for me and as I have drifted, floated and swam over the past few days waves of childhood memories have drifted their way in and out of my consciousness.
I was fortunate enough to grow up with parents and grandparents who loved traveling on and with water. My grandfather, Tucker, had an old wooden power boat that as a child reminded my of a large tugboat. Slow moving, covered with wood, with an outdoor covered aft deck. I spent many a summer aboard the, Framac, traveling through the Gulf Islands in British Columbia and into Desolation Sound.
Traveling on water has been a foundation and anchor for my life. Laughter, tears, escaping storms, clear starry nights, laying on the bow, watching the night sky, hours of playing Scrabble and Chess with my younger brother, reading books, snacking on Bugles, jumping off both port and starboard railings into cold yet refreshing water – so cold that it felt as if sometimes it would suck the life right out of me. Water: providing food, sharing its bounty of salmon, cod, mussels, crabs. Memories with my Dad of learning how to put a crab to sleep. Holding the large crab so that his pinchers didn’t snap your fingers, flipping him over so his belly was exposed, and then ‘whack’ hitting him with a mallet so he could be slowly simmered in a pot of bowling water to be feasted upon at the table.
Water and the life it holds. Remembering my Grandmother, Tilly, and how she swore that the seals in Desolation Sound, British Columbia, adored classical music. Aboard the Framac was an old record player and she would bring along her friends, Bach and Beethoven, to serenade the adoring seal fans. I have a vivid memory of gazing off the aft of the Framac, classical music skimming out over the surface of the water and suddenly, seals. Four of them, popping their slippery grey dappled heads up out of the water, peering about with their beady black eyes, whiskers twitching about their nostrils, simply listening, enchanted by the music. True, yes.
Water. I wonder what else you have to impart to me? What surprises, delights, life and gifts? How might I receive you?