The water element: A blessing

Bless this water.

May it cleanse and nourish.

May it carry with it all which no longer serves.

With gratitude to the elements.

And for the highest good.

So mote it be.

Raindance

One night a shaman stood in a field, barefoot. The ground was riddled with cracks. He scratched at the dirt a couple of times with the toes of his right foot. A scorpion crawled up from between the cracks in the soil and the shaman grinned as it scurried across his feet. He squatted and placed his left palm in its path. Lifting it, he watched the scorpion’s pincers wave in the air as it sat in his hand, the starlight glinted slightly off its black exoskeleton. He let it go and stood again. The eight stars of Orion’s bow moved into view overhead. He closed his eyes again, and slowed his breathing. His diaphragm expanded as his breathing deepened. The aroma of the air entering his nostrils became heavy, dusty, the scent of an approaching storm. Eyes still closed, he could hear, or thought he could hear, the first drops of water descending through the air, traveling down from thick, dark clouds. They were large drops and they stung a little when they hit his forehead. Lightning danced from cloud to cloud and back. Seconds later its report reached his ears. The rain hit the ground around him like a high-pitched, but muted drumroll. He felt dirt, still dry, fly up from a raindrop and land on his foot. The drops came faster, and he began to feel the dirt moisten. Then mud began to squish up between his toes. There was a second thunderclap, and silence. The shaman opened his eyes. The red star Betelgeuse, which makes up Orion’s right shoulder, was now directly overhead. He began to walk across the dry earth and plant stubble.

Roughly a day later, a half-foot of rain fell on the area.

Most of us don’t have that depth of connection with the water element. Our world is concrete, paved. We spend a chunk of our lives riding, commuting. We schedule things around the weather. Rain is many times an inconvenience. While it’s irrigating fields and our yards it’s making the roads slick. It serves both as a blessing and a danger. We’re not standing on raw land feeling mud squish between our toes. We’re not even standing in our backyards feeling that. We’re driving or riding home in it, probably at night…a thousand things on our minds. In one part of our thoughts we are happy to not have to water our lawns and gardens for a bit. In another part of our thoughts we know we’re going to have to get out in this slop shortly and slosh our way to the door. It’s a borderline love-hate and there’s no escaping it if we continue our urban, rat-racy lives.

I still complain about the rain. I don’t like driving in it, day or night. And living in mild drought areas, when I complain someone is always there to remind me that we ‘need’ the rain. And we do. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over wishing that I didn’t have to get out in it. Maybe the key to that is pausing the rat-race itself. I think what I’ll start doing is to stop and stand in the rain for a couple of minutes before I open my umbrella. I’d rather be on that open field, but until that becomes my reality it’ll have to remain the stuff of vacations. I need to feel the connection to the water, to be happy when it comes, even if the circumstances aren’t what I’d prefer.

Staying ahead of the drought

This is my skin most of the time, and especially in the winter. Many people have conditions that heighten during major weather changes. For some it’s joint problems, for me it’s my skin.

I never bothered much with lotions and oils growing up. I guess I had a not exactly rational idea that my skin should just repair itself. I’m sure it was one of those ‘I don’ wannas’ of childhood. The thing is, I’m in my mid fifties and have only recently started working on my skin and trying to stay ahead of the dry. It’s taken a few visits to the podiatrist to get me to see that my skin is always drying out and I have to keep applying lubricants to it to keep it healthy. I don’t know if it’s something that a proper diet and taking in enough fluids can moderate. But given the varieties of lotions, oils, cremes, and balms in stores, I doubt anyone is able to eat right and have healthy, properly moisturized skin.

The cheaper lotions don’t do the job well enough for my taste. I have a jar of shea butter that I use. It absorbs easily and doesn’t leave your skin with a greasy feel, like you need to keep wiping your hands to get rid of it. This is a form of thirst, just like needing to take in fluids to stay hydrated. And failing to do that can lead to problems requiring medical treatment. Think of it as a supplement. Instead of the easy to swallow pill you massage it in.

Find a good plant-based lotion. Lanolin works, but some people are allergic to it, and we’re not sheep.