Beethoven, Seals and Water

Glistening speckled grey, brown and white heads popped up on the water’s calm surface. Black shining eyes gazed intently, long wet whiskers curiously twitching, as Beethoven’s fifth symphony floated across the water. It was the summer of 1973 and I was on my grandparents boat, The Framac, in Desolation Sound, British Columbia.

The heat of the summer day was beginning to cool and my Grandmother, Tilly, had her vinyls and old record player – transported specifically for this very purpose. My parents, younger brother and ‘Gramps’ gazed on in wonder. Tilly often said that seals loved classical music. We held our breath as the symphony wafted off the stern, danced over the seals, and floated into the night sky.

I cherish this summer childhood memory: the practice of savoring music, connecting with nature and being present with my family. Tilly was an eccentric woman and unlike anyone else’s grandmother I knew. She traveled often to faraway places: Asia, Africa, Russia. She was a poet who illustrated her own poems through painting ambidextrously. She and Tucker, ‘Gramps’ loved being on the water. I was fortunate to be included.

My love of water, travel, nature, slowing down and practicing being present was nurtured through these experiences. I invite you to take time today to reflect upon a positive summer childhood experience. What stands out in your mind? Which images stir your soul? How might you honor them?

I encourage you to play with water. Take time to dip your toes in the ocean, run through a sprinkler, sit by a lake, go swimming, ride a ferry, try paddle boarding or kayaking. The possibilities are endless. May the following blessing gift you with the magic, mystery, and wonder of water.

Blessing of Water

“May the fluency of the ocean be yours.”
May water in all its ebbs and flows fill you.
As water takes whatever form it holds,
so may you be free within yourself.

As the ocean waves wax and wane
upon the shore, so may you let go.
Finding ease in the rising, retreating,
savoring grace in the coming, going,
loosening your grip into the fluidity that is.

May the ease in which water shifts and shapes guide you:
from flowing stream to icicle,
pelting rain to dripping sweat,
ice cube to popsicle,
warm shower to bubble bath.

“May the fluency of the ocean be yours.”
May the depths become home,
plunging your soul,
your ego gently being washed aside
as the beautiful truth of you emerges.

May the many creatures that claim ocean as home
become kin to you:
long life of sea turtle,
dancing play of spinner dolphin,
stealth and power of shark,
lightness of being and protection of jellyfish,
curiosity of seal,
friendship of angelfish.

“May the fluency of the ocean be yours.”
May water in all its ebbs and flows fill you.
As water takes whatever form it holds,
so may you be free within yourself.

Blessing of Water, was inspired by the line, “May the fluency of the ocean be yours,” from John O’Donahue’s poem, A Blessing for The New Year, Beannacht, To Bless the Space Between Us (New York: Doubleday Publishing, 2008)

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