Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Memories of Water

I know a secret. I know where we come from. And perhaps even where we end up. I know the truth for myself. It doesn't have to be your truth. I discovered the secret in a dream. It was a long time ago and it was a dream about water. I was floating in a lake, but the word lake is not enough here. The water was blue and clear like glass. And the sky wasn't a sky at all, but a deep endless sunset with no sun. There were other people floating on the water as well, but we were all silent. The only sound came from the soft lapping of small waves against the shore. The shore itself was stone but smooth and perfect and there were huge rounded rocks rising from the surface, separating the pool into sections. The words I could use to try to describe this place are: quiet, solace, peace, painless, comfort, grace, acceptance, faith. In truth, It was an uneventful dream. My favorite kind. In it I knew a sort of happiness I never knew before. Beyond the dream in my waking hours the thought of it made me panic. I didn't want to remember it. I had, and still have, the strangest feeling that I wasn't supposed to.

My mind drifts to that place too often. I think about what if felt like to be floating, just floating. Perfectly at peace. It scares and intrigues me. That is the place. The place we come from, the place we go. We come from the water. Our bodies carry the water throughout our lives, and when we die, we return to the water. That is my assertion.

My father was a sea captain until he sunk his boat. He is also a functioning alcoholic and absentee person in my life. Divorced when I was two, my mother and father couldn't make their dreams for their life together a reality. My mom and I stayed together, but my father floated away.

When I was fifteen I found a box of his things in the attic. I know it must have held many things, more than I can remember, but there were five artifacts I took with me and made my own. The first was a feather filled parka. Beige and over-sized, it fell past my knees and I wore it for years. It made me look like a homeless, L.L Bean addicted pimp, but I wore it with love and it kept me warm. The second was a pair of soft, pale, well worn jeans. They had marine logo patches on them. My dad must have been very thin, because I was a tiny thing and when I put them on they fell loosely against my hip bones, but did not fall off. I cut the bottoms of the jeans to a little below my knees and wore them until they fell apart. I did the same with artifact number three, a red flannel, button down shirt. I liked wearing that tied at my waist, Daisy Duke style, with a white tank top underneath. The fourth item was a black, leather bound journal. There were only a few entries but I noticed how similar his writing was to my own. I liked the fact that I could feel the pages as well as the indents that his pen made. His pen he held in his hand. A hand I missed holding. And then there it was, the final item, his captains license. Even though it was expired it made me understand so much. You can learn a lot about a person from the things they leave behind. What I learned that day was that I had a father who needed to float, and so he floated in one way or another all of the time. He still does. I am sure he would not argue with me about this.

I think we spend our whole lives trying to return to floating. Junkies do it the best. Think about it. We like the feeling of weightlessness. We all like to lose our bodies in some form or another. Even those that don't like to swim take other weightless options. They like to fly, or dream about flying. Some like to ride roller-coasters, some like to take Valium or any other drug that separates our minds from our bodies. A martini can do it too... this I know. (Up please and DIRTY thank you)

Now, in the northern hemisphere, the summer is upon us. There will be water in our lives. We will float and frolic in pools and in the ocean. We will para sail in the sky or jump off cliffs... or simply drink a beer. All of us will float. Perhaps we do it in remembrance, or even in anticipation, of where we have been and where we will end up when we take leave of this crazy place.

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