Mary Beth Writes

The photo is Lake Michigan, taken by Mary Kay Friedel. 

...

It’s fantastic to receive your photos in my email; I will try to post most of them in the next few weeks. I assume that since you sent them to me, you will be okay if I use them going forward; I’ll always attribute them to you. If you have more photos of light you would like to share, I’m right here, opening emails like a kid at Christmas.

I suppose it’s not a huge surprise that almost everyone has sent one or two photos of Lake Michigan or the ocean. I remember discussing baptism in seminary. Paul Hessert (professor of dogmatics) furrowed his eyebrows at us. “Do you think it is happenstance that one of the most profound elements of religion is water? Instead of telling others what baptism means, pay attention to their lives and yours to see what water means in peoples’ lives.” He said more than that. But that’s what stayed with me.

Don’t tell people what water means. Watch them, you will see it.

When my kids and their friends were little and were having a rough moment, one of the things I learned was to “get them to the water.” Give a kid in a highchair two cups, one with water in it. We had one of those blue plastic pools (probably in some landfill right now). The kids would play in it like maniacs while I gardened. When we were done I’d turn on the hose. No preschooler is cranky if you let them water flowers with a hose. The parent is usually in a pretty good mental space, too.

Remember big family dinners with mountains of dishes and pots and pans? Remember how daunting it was to approach cleaning up, but then how okay it became once you and your partner and maybe some friends rolled up your sleeves and lowered your hands into the warm sudsy water and started in?

When we don’t know what to do next, get to water. We can try to say why it’s so good, but words will fail. IMaybe we love it because it reminds us how good it feels to feel good.

Photo by Susan Lawrence, along the California coast.

“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It's always our self we find in the sea.”
― e.e. cummings

Photo by Jennifer Beiriger. The Atlantic. 

I took this photo last year at Fundy Bay in Canada. The tides shaped the rocks.

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall; it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad

Jennifer Beiriger. Florida.

Ocean, n. A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for humans — who have no gills.”
― Ambrose Bierce

Jennifer Beiriger snagging a grandchild

“And I say also this. I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lakes.”
― C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

Karen Poe, from her resort balcony in Maui.

“All the water that will ever be is, right now.” —National Geographic

 …

 I took this photo at Copper Falls by Ashland, WI.

“Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet.” —African Proverb

“One cannot answer for his courage when he has never been in danger.”
― Francois de La Rochefoucauld, Maxims

...

 Susan Lawrence.

 “When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away - even if it's only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.”

― Kurt Vonnegut

 

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Love the entire post!

Love this post. Patricia

The Native American water protectors of Standing Rock desperately try to remind us that Water is Life, a common provision for all living things to be honored. For my part, I feel so amazingly fortunate to live on the Great Lakes. We drink from Lake Michigan every day. We swim in it when it finally warms up in June. We watch the sun sparkle on its surface in the morning like a million diamonds. We watch its waves crash before us, thundering across on the shoreline. We contemplate the quiet ripples reflecting an everchanging palette of colors like a Monet painting.

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