Last week, I dog-sat for a sweet Brittany Spaniel named Dolly who lives at the lake. Two of my favorites–a dog and water.
Tag Archives: water
At 3:00 p.m. yesterday, with school back in session, the Lake St. Clair Metro Park had few people but lots of wildlife, including these Canada geese, a crane and heron. I always feel fortunate to see a crane or heron, but to see both in one day was a joy.
This past weekend, my sisters and I went “up north” (as we say in Michigan, although there seems to be some debate as to where “north” begins). A friend generously let us use her cottage on a small lake in northwestern Michigan.
Michigan is said to have 11,000 inland lakes, in addition to the the Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie) that outline the state (Lake Ontario is east of Michigan).
The inland lakes vary in size from Houghton Lake, which covers more than 20,000 acres to small lakes like the one we visited (which I once kayaked around in 45 minutes).
The weekend was very peaceful and relaxing, and I am grateful for my friend’s generosity and my sisters company.
A poem on retreat
One of the requirements of the Internship in Ignatian Spirituality is a silent retreat (at least five days). I have gone on silent retreats for more than thirty years, but several of the people in the program had not. Last year, one of them, Amy, happened to sign up for retreat the same time as I was going to be there, so I offered to meet her before we entered the silence and give her an orientation to the retreat house, the grounds and the neighborhood (for walks). Amy returned to Manresa Retreat House for retreat this year and sent me this poem she composed while on retreat, which she dedicated to me. I am so touched and honored.
Summer Solstice Psalm
For Madeline who introduced me to Quarton Lake
All creatures of our God and King,
Lift up your voice and with us sing.
(William Henry Draper with inspiration from St Francis)
May you open your self to the light like the lily that blooms in muddy water.
(a gem from my yogi friend, Sharon)
Wood ducks lift
with wide wings
oh so low.
Cottonwood fibers sail past on the breeze.
Metallic blue fireflies mate in midair.
A painted turtle soaks up the sun.
Walkers chat on a gravel path and side step the geese.
In the surrounding neighborhood,
and earth movers dig.
Huge houses emerge.
Down at the water’s edge, a pilgrim rests.
She spies a tiny black insect on a white petal.
Consider this lily
that bobs on the water
with the deep joy
that nudges our hips to sway
when we hum spirituals.
Amy Fryar Kennedy
June 21, 2022
Sit by the water’s edge
without worry or hurry.
Feel the breeze that
wild and untamed one minute,
gentle and caressing the next.
Listen for that little voice,
that tiny whisper,
inviting you to
immerse yourself in the silence surrounding you,
to dip into the quiet and
let it speak hope to your heart.
What I am learning from my tears
The other morning at prayer, these words from Ezekiel 47 caught my attention:
I saw water flowing out from beneath the threshold of the temple….Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow, their leaves shall not fade nor their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.
Lately, I have I have been very emotional, and I am unable to stop my tears from flowing.
I grew up in one of those families where crying was discouraged; tears usually elicited a response of, “I’ll give you something to cry about.”
Then, in my twenties, I worked for the FBI where agents used to tell me to “toughen up.” This was usually in response to a mood-shift after my oh-so-easily-hurt feelings had been hurt. I would sulk and feel sorry for myself, but I would try not to cry.
My years at the FBI did toughen me up. I tried to keep inside any emotion that might make me look weak or vulnerable. Being tough (or at least looking tough) was my goal, so I swallowed my emotions.
At some point in my life, though, I realized the pendulum had swung too far and that I had developed an impenetrable shell to protect myself from criticism that I was weak. That shell helped me feel invincible and kept me from feeling vulnerable. It also kept others away.One of the good things about getting old is that I can look back on so many opportunities God has given me to move against my resistance to being vulnerable. God invites me not to toughen up but to soften up.As I read the words of Ezekiel, I wondered if my tears are the river that gives me life.Recently, as I watched a high school volleyball game, tears started rolling down my face. The same thing happened a few weeks earlier at the Motown Museum while watching the movie about the early days of Barry Gordy and the high school students who would become his stars.
Reading a novel about Puritans in Connecticut, tears welled up and spilled over. Watching television, seeing a rainbow, spotting a butterfly—I have no idea what will set off a tearful episode.
I try to let the tears flow freely. I want the emotions to be set free—rather than tamped down or stifled.
My recent tears tell me that my protective shell has a crack in it, and I want to widen that crack. I want to acknowledge my fears and insecurities. I want to be softer. But it is not easy.
My early training sets me up to be afraid of showing my vulnerability, and fear can be a powerful paralyzer.
But, God keeps prompting me—with the words of scripture, my memories and my tears. I know I that I can sit with the discomfort of feeling vulnerable and not be overwhelmed.
Let the tears flow.