Little Heavens

September 24th, 2008

One of my favorite books is Wind in the Willows, and even though I’m a nonswimmer who fears water, like Rat and Mole, I love messing about in a little boat. Yesterday after work, a friend and I launched kayaks into a tidal creek that runs behind her house and paddled out to the Intracoastal Waterway as the sun was going down. Being at eye level with the marsh grass, gliding across the silky surface, was meditation on the move. Coming back in against a strong muscular tide with the sunset leaving a neon red trail on the water behind us engaged every part of my body and mind. Almost home, I rested my paddle and rocked gently on the wavelets like a baby Moses adrift among the reeds. For a whole hour, I’d settled into my place in the physical world, surrendered to it, been cradled by it. For a whole hour, I wasn’t just a big giant head thinking my way through the day. When we pulled the kayaks up on the bank, my friend pointed out a small brass plaque fixed to a nearby rock. It was in honor of a longtime resident of the island, placed there by his family after his death. It was engraved with his name and the line, “Because he loved this creek.” I thought how blessed it would be to have your ashes scattered near your home, near all you cherished about being alive, leaving behind a simple, almost secret, love letter to the world.

4 Responses to “Little Heavens”

  1. lynne h says:

    beautiful photograph and beautiful words… and oh i DO love ‘wind in the willows’ too!

  2. Anonymous says:

    These images, your observations, your words, made me tear up. This shouldn’t be so difficult, right? – to engage with the world physically and spiritually. Then why don’t I “fit it in” to my day, my week? I think if I get to do something like this once in a while, that should do it. Well, it doesn’t. It’s like food, I guess. I need it far more regularly. And lately I’m feeling starved.
    Diane

  3. woodley park-zoo says:

    I just bought a copy of that book from Goodwill, because the dust jacket was lovely with green and black illustrations and also I’ve never read it and felt I should. This post is inspiring me to start soon, maybe as bedside reading. I have been in that sort of ‘cradle of the world’ before, love that, it is so rare… so beautiful how you’ve written it.

  4. V-Grrrl says:

    I do plan to have my ashes set afloat in the river that cut through the mountains near the home I loved the most.

    I spent hours there with the first boy I loved, and the man I married took me there the day after we met and asked me to marry him there a year later.