April 1, 2010
My little brook is in full flood after all the rains. I love the waters of spring: the surging, overflowing streams; the springs that nourish the first searingly green new growth; the rainpools swallowing the fields, gray sheets mirroring the sky, their surfaces riffled by the passing winds, and in their depths the submerged grasses and weeds transformed into a strange, half-seen aquatic forest; the tiny rivulets along the roadsides, miniature rivers winding between chunks of broken blacktop, their beds lined with flecks of quartz; the low, drumming murmurs of raindrops on the roof. I even kind of love it when the power goes out, the sump pump fails, and the basement starts to flood, although at the same time I’m likely to be cursing frantically and trying to get the washer and dryer up high enough to save them. (Luckily it hasn’t happened this year, or at any rate not yet.)
It was the wettest March on record in New Jersey, and towns like Bound Brook have been suffering from severe flooding. The power of the waters is definitely something to be respected and not ever taken for granted. We have some finite ability to channel and contain them, to use them for our own needs, but ultimately they’re beyond us, mysterious in their risings and fallings, stunningly powerful in their gathered force. And that wonder and that terror are ultimately a part of their beauty — are inextricable from it.
I grew up playing alongside this little brook, in all seasons and weathers, and later along the larger streams and rivers that it feeds into. I suppose it’s no great surprise (as I’ve said before) that I ended up in a religion where the primal waters and the yearly cycle of the great River’s inundation and subsiding are so central. Even “my” Bast has a strongly riparian presence: Lady of the Pool, of the riverbank, the shimmer of sunlight on the ripples, the low chuckle of the waterfall. And maybe there’s a lesson to be learned in the many faces of the waters: to see how anxiety and exultation, joy and sorrow are different aspects of the same emotional energy, the same inner tide. And to understand that only by acknowledging their interplay and by owning both can I truly know the depths of my own heart.
O Netjer, may I walk in a world where Your shining waters bring life and transformation. And may I dare the dregs of sorrow in order to drink deeply of beauty and joy.