What the Water Gave Me

In honor of a new blog theme, the spring thaws, and the overwhelm that so often comes with the creative process.

“What The Water Gave Me”
Florence and the Machine

Time it took us
To where the water was
That’s what the water gave me
And time goes quicker
Between the two of us
Oh, my love, don’t forsake me
Take what the water gave me

Lay me down
Let the only sound
Be the overflow
Pockets full of stones

Lay me down
Let the only sound
Be the overflow

And oh, poor Atlas
The world’s a beast of a burden
You’ve been holding up a long time
And all this longing
And the ships are left to rust
That’s what the water gave us

So lay me down
Let the only sound
Be the overflow
Pockets full of stones
Lay me down
Let the only sound
Be the overflow

‘Cause they took your loved ones
But returned them in exchange for you
But would you have it any other way?
Would you have it any other way?
You couldn’t have it any other way

‘Cause she’s a cruel mistress
And a bargain must be made
But oh, my love, don’t forget me
When I let the water take me

So lay me down
Let the only sound
Be the over flow
Pockets full of stones

Lay me down
Let the only sound
Be the overflow

So lay me down
Let the only sound
Be the overflow
Pockets full of stones

Lay me down
Let the only sound
Be the overflow

NYC Pilgrimage: Central Park

New York City has always been something of a touchstone for me, so I decided to make a pilgrimage to three spiritually significant spots: St. Patrick’s Cathedral, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Central Park. This is the final post in the series.

I had actually intended to avoid the park. Stories of muggers and rapists crowded my brain as I left the museum, enough so that I crossed the street to walk in the perceived safety of 5th Avenue doormen.

Then I heard music. (Fairy music, perhaps?) Thrumming base notes and a pop/rock wail spilled through the trees and over the low stone wall. As I crossed East 66th St., my curiosity finally got the better of me and I followed the road towards the melody.

There is something romantic about the park at night. No longer gas lights, but the glow of the street lamps and strains of music gave the towering trees an otherworldly glow.  These trees, for the most part, like people, or are at least very tolerant of us. They’ve grown up with humans, and their branches bend protectively over the paths.

But there are human ghosts in the park, too, not all of them so happy.

An irregular terrain of swamps and bluffs, punctuated by rocky outcroppings, made the land between Fifth and Eighth avenues and 59th and 106th streets undesirable for private development. Creating the park, however, required displacing roughly 1,600 poor residents, including Irish pig farmers and German gardeners, who lived in shanties on the site. At Eighth Avenue and 82nd Street, Seneca Village had been one of the city’s most stable African-American settlements, with three churches and a school. —Blackmar and Rosenzweig

I stopped and spoke a while with a sycamore, a leopard tree with peeling bark.  Sycamores are the guardians of this place, more so than any other species.  She was gentle, somewhat amused and muzzy as she prepared for the winter. A piece of her bark cracked off and fell at my feet as we spoke, her gift to a traveler far from home.

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One melody gave way to another as I continued south, from Indie Pop to protesters’ drums. Along Central Park South, I noted a small fountain. City planners it seemed still had some classical education, public water being essential to the designs of so many ancient and medieval cities. The water for NYC, in fact, comes from miles away, through aqueducts in the Catskill Mountains.  Like Rome, 95% of NYC’s water gets there by gravity, rather than having to be pumped into the city.  The fountain was in the shape of a stone trough–perhaps it had watered horses in days gone by.

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I dipped my fingers into the stream, offering a final prayer of thanks as I laved my forehead, lips, and heart. Blessed by tree and water, and by the fire of music, I made my way down through the protesters, and home in the false dawn of a NYC night.

Dark Moon: Saille

Taken by Geaugagrrl during a visit to the Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge, Washington, 2007.

Taken by Geaugagrrl during a visit to the Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge, Washington, 2007.

Thus far, Saille, associated with the Willow, seems to be an appropriate symbol for the month.  The new moon was on the 25th, and my divorce was finalized on the 28th.  Willow is a tree of change and healing, and both have been abundant in the past few weeks.

Liz and Collin Murray make a strong connection between Saille and the high regard in which women were held amongst the Celts, noting in particular that they were able to own property.  Two weeks ago, the offer I put on my neighbor’s house was accepted.  Having the mortgage process well under way this month would be auspicious indeed!

I have been having some trouble in my relationship with Water, however, so I will seek Willow’s help to let my emotions flow freely so that they do not become stagnant or run the risk of breaking the dam, as it were.  Willow bends where the Oak stands strong.  This, too, is an important thing for me to remember, reinforcing the lessons of Ngetal (Reed) in April.