Liquid

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It’s early morning in the cabin. A blanket of darkness and falling rain surround the pine walls, fall rhythmically upon the pitched roof. Lights glow from inside. Hot water steams from the kettle, and from my freshly-steeped mug of tea. I am so grateful for light and for warmth.

There is a sudden shift in the pitter-patter beat of the rain. The sound of a stream. The sound of the outside having found its way in. I look to the wall beside me and observe a thin but persistent line of water drawing itself down the wall. A small pool collects upon the floor. Bursting from my moment of reverie, I climb up the ladder, following the source of the stream. Our upstairs picture window, which has been known to leak since we moved in (and has been patiently sitting upon our to-do list) has welcomed a puddle of rainwater to its sill. This has spilled over, run down the sheet rock wall, gathered on the plywood floor, and seeped through to the downstairs where it first presented itself to me. A rainfall of water had veered off course (AKA was pouring through my little cabin, casting a torrent upon my lazy, relaxing morning) and was now seeking to reconnect itself with the earth- to return to its natural path.

Water poured its way into my last post- just a few days ago- and now, here it is again. Seeping through the cracks. Forcing me to take another look as I mop up the spill.

If language were liquid it would be rushing in. Lyrics from Suzanne Vega’s Language wind their way through my mind. Instead here we are in a silence more eloquent than any words could ever be. 

I’d been caught in the act. That short description of my quiet morning in the dark sounded pretty Zen didn’t it? When I look back on the moment, those are the images I connect with. The darkness. The rain. Tea, steaming. Lights, illuminating. I imagine the witness who observes these moments of my life as a little Buddha. Smiling, cherishing, embracing. Present.

The witness, however, is not who I was sitting with when the rain poured through my little cabin. I was fixed upon the kitchen wall that needs to be cut open to accommodate a new window, the bathroom that needs tiling before the plumbing can be installed. I was on my iPad googling tiny house kitchen designs, even though I’ve already wrestled every last micro-detail of our to-be kitchen into place. The truth is, I was halfway through my cup of tea, and I couldn’t tell you what it tasted like. What pattern the steam displayed as it danced its way out of my cup.

I carry this little Buddha inside of me- I imagine we all do- this gracious witness. But who do I turn to in moments of silence? The closest thing that will fill the space. Maybe water pouring down the inner walls of my cabin is nothing more than the result of a chronically defective window seal in the presence of a storm. But maybe it’s also language in liquid form, rushing through my inner world as I refuse to open into the silence. If language were liquid it would be rushing in…

As the cabin is transformed, I am moving out of a space where stillness is the natural state of being. My screens (computer, phone, etc.) no longer go dead after only a few hours- they plug into outlets now that allow them to be lit for as long as I desire to stare, to surf, to scroll. I don’t need to go outside to power the generator in order to have electric. Flicking on a switch is more and more becoming an unconscious process.

And this is ok. But not always. When I look back, it was during moments of stillness when I fell in love with the cabin, with Jim, with a quirky fragmented part of myself. It is within the spaces of silence where my life has come into color. So why do I feel so compelled to fill my days with kitchen designs and google searches? The same reason rain pours in through an unsealed window. Empty spaces have a way of becoming full.

Perhaps the rain, as it rushes in, can be a reminder. To carve out some space for consciousness within the chatter. To turn away from the static every now and again, pull up a chair, and invite the witness to have a seat. Like the cabin, rain may always seep through the cracks. Noise has a way of spilling in. But I can still hold a space for the witness. For the feeling of wrapping my hands around a warm cup of tea. For the soft drumming of rain upon a roof. For the warmth of a room rebelliously filled with light while the world outside remains wrapped in a soft blanket of darkness.

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A Cabin in Motion

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The cabin is in motion. A well has been drilled. A septic system is being installed. Our bathroom is continuing to take shape. I am surrounded by water, but aside from that hauled in from the faucets of neighbors on the back of my husband, there is not yet a drop to drink.

But water is here nonetheless. Construction- like any change- comes in waves. I expect, anticipate, linearity. Constant. I try to thrust the calm moments forward. It’s as much an impossibility as drawing a rope around a wave and pulling it into shore. But still, I tug. And then the wave, on its own pulse, arcs. Crashes in upon the earth. And what do I do? I run. Sometimes I try to press it back into the sea. In either case, I am ultimately enveloped. And even though I know how to swim, I fight the current, the ebb and flow of the tide.

I am not good at change.

But then there are moments of surrender. I’d like to take credit for these, but they are typically born of my exhaustion. I find myself surrounded, and realize that swimming is not so bad after all. The crashing and retreating of each wave loses its intensity as I allow myself to bob with the surf. And somewhere along the way I connect with the beauty of the calm, the power of the rising wave. And I recognize that water is water. Rushing, retreating, or still. I drink it in.

But this requires climbing in. Letting go of my separateness. Committing completely and surrendering my capacity to turn away.

My own moments of resist and surrender mirror the pattern of the tides. The arching flow of construction as it crashes against a cabin, that until our recent presence, had sat with static sureness on its little hillside.

It’s beautiful to be in the surf together. Terrifying to loosen my grip and let go. Freeing to open to the new as it rushes in.

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Excavation equipment at rest in what used to be our front yard

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Our new septic tank!

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Shingles, overlooking the excavator and the view before finding their home on the outside of the cabin.