Friday, April 13, 2012

Breathing Under Water

My route home from the office goes along Departure Bay beach in Nanaimo.

Yesterday, for the first time, I saw a deer at the low tide's water edge.

Seeing a deer is very common, they sleep under our deck with the fawns. But seeing a deer at the sea edge, as if it had become a Heron, was new for me.

I couldn't tell what it was doing (grazing, drinking!) or thinking (go for a swim, how do I open a clam), but it reminded me of an amazing new book by Richard Rohr called "Breathing Under Water". I highly recommend it.

The title comes from this poem

I built my house by the sea.

Not on the sands, mind you;

not on the shifting sand.

And I built it of rock.

A strong house

by a strong sea.

And we got well acquainted, the sea and I.

Good neighbors.

Not that we spoke much.

We met in silences.

Respectful, keeping our distance,

but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.

Always, the fence of sand our barrier,

always, the sand between.

And then one day,

--and I still don’t know how it happened--

the sea came.

Without warning.

Without welcome, even.

Not sudden and swift, but a shifting across the sand

like wine,

less like the flow of water then the flow of blood.

Slow, but coming.

Slow, but flowing like an open wound.

And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning

and I thought of death.

And while I thought to the sea crept higher, till it

reached my door.

And I knew then, there was neither flight, not death,

nor drowning.

That when the sea comes calling you stop being

good neighbors

well acquainted, friendly-at-a-distance, neighbors

And you give your house for a coral castle,

And you learn to breathe underwater.

Carol Bieleck R.S.C.J.

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