I am leaning against the wall, my body is supported by a tower of pillows, books and computers spread out on my bed. I am posting to 7Billion Facebook writing group. Every day, I share seven, or nineteen, or thirty-nine of the day’s photos, and a writing prompt.
It was my dad’s idea. We are on day three hundred and twenty-two as a fledgling writing community. Our emotional depth, and human experience breadth, blows me up.
With photos on my mind, I drove the dogs to Governor’s Island, a rare patch of wild nature against the rough waves of Lake Mendota. As I pull into the empty gravel parking lot, I feel the photographer’s buzz come alive in my body. I study the small bay full of Canadian Geese, notice a few of the large brown birds bobbing upside down, and the sun glistening purple off the rising and the falling water. Waves.
I park. After a bit of arranging for the cold, the dogs and I jump out of the car. They run toward the water. I run toward the water. Within seconds, I am on my butt on the frozen shore, my phone perched on my left hand, my mitten off my right hand so I can hit the circle on my phone screen. Frozen water droplets are suspended evenly along the rocks in patterns like ruffles on a curtain. I watch how the tiny waves move against the ice, I watch as they create these repetitive patterns of nature I am now intimately familiar with after months of studying water with my camera.
Water droplets in all their forms, here as layer upon layer of concentric circles, or hanging frozen. Then, I see mysterious faces forming from the reflections of sky and clouds in the lakes half-frozen surface.
I am in awe, in love with this moment, the ripples of water, the light. I devote my entire body to being with these fleeting beauties. I think about what Marc Gafni said in church this morning, intimacy is shared identity. I feel close to this nature. I think about how I long to share the beauty I see with the whole world.
I know I am sharing it with the universe. I know I am sharing the beauty with – itself. I wonder if this is enough.
I put my mitten back on, stand up, and put my attention on my frozen finger tips by bringing my fingers toward my thumbs. I walk a short distance along the shore, looking out at the geese, watching as one of the flock seems to be standing on water, flapping her wings, shaking open her feathers before she settles back to floating on the blue water.
I look down to see a dead carp floating in icy slush. I squat down, the dogs join me, Holiday begins to paw at the carp. I don’t care, my whole body notices the beauty of the fish’s scales, the way it’s patterns mimic the water’s patterns, the way life and death meeting here.
Now, lying in bed, collecting the photos off my phone for the writing community, I wonder what words I’ll use for the prompt. I think about how I felt when I took these photos, the way taking the photos made all my feelings of loneliness disappear, the way taking the photos made me feel the love of the water.
Then I think of the conversation my dad and I had after Evolutionary Church. I asked him about the changes he’s felt inside of himself over these last few years from writing, and growing the community. His response surprised me.
“Why am I in a writing group, at my age, where I have to think? In today’s world, It’s easier to not think, to just be stupid.”
I am reflecting on what my dad said. What does he mean? It’s easier to not think, to be stupid. I was raised to be stupid. For me, it hasn’t been easier to not think. For me, it is think deeply or die.
I devour the internet. “What do you mean, Dad?” I ask for clarification after that instant of reflection.
He wipes his hands on the dish towel.,“Living. Just waking up in the morning. Scratching your ass. Reading the paper. Mowing the lawn, and thinking, boy, it’s a great life, isn’t it!” He pauses, for effect. “No, if that is all you do, it isn’t necessarily a great life.”
I agree with him. I want to know my situation. I want to understand it’s depths. I want to participate with the universe as she unfolds this life called Kristina Amelong.
I write the prompt, I study physics to live, and post. zz