After over 200 days without more than an inch of continuous rainfall, the skies opened this morning. I woke disoriented, emerging from vivid dreams into the sound of some persistent something that demanded my attention. Beating against my windows, the rain called me from my sleep. Wake up! Wake up! The sky is falling! And it is glorious! Once the truth of the symphony outside my window penetrated my still mostly dreaming mind, my body took over. I ran for the front door, threw it open and stepped into the dawn-lit downpour.
All day yesterday, I had water on my mind– loading my iPod with every water related song I could find, aching at the sight of parched plants on the drive to gymnastics, pulling the Queen of Cups from every Tarot deck I own to scatter across my night stand. August has been and continues to be very strange. This is the most virulent Mercury retrograde period, I’ve experienced and observed in a long time. I honestly cannot remember another one that’s wrecked this much havoc. Normally, I firmly espouse the opportunities a Mercury retrograde period can bring us– opportunities to re- everything: rethink, review, revisit, renew, return…… But, to put it extremely plainly, this one is kicking my butt. Just about everything feels off kilter. And a large part of that feeling is the persistent elemental imbalance the whole state can sense. The heat is unbelievable. The total lack of substantial rainfall resulted in large swaths of earth and forest burning, utterly consumed by fire. Even in our densely populated stretch of suburbia, the ground was igniting. One grass fire burned only six or seven miles away from my front door. Fire rages in hearts here too. A friend remarked last week that she wasn’t sure if the heat was making people crazy, the crazy people were making it hot or something else was generating both. No matter which of those is true, she’s on to something. Yesterday, I longed to walk through and beyond the flames. Today, I danced in the rain.
The water from the sky was wet, heavy, cold, occasionally sideways and wonder-full! Luckily, my neighbors already know I’m a pretty kooky lady. So if any of them saw me spinning circles in the grass, arms outstretched and face upturned, they wouldn’t be all that surprised. Normally, I hate to be cold. Patris Maximus teases me relentlessly about how whiney I can be when I’m cold. But this was a different kind of cold. This was the chill and the wet I’ve been craving. That the earth here is craving. That we’re all craving. Enough wet and chill to quench the out of control flames snaking through the grass and consuming our hearts. It was a giant leap towards much-needed elemental balance. I stayed out in it for as long as I could, retreating back inside to shiver under a blanket until my own body heat began to dry me out. I was still somewhat damp when the twins crawled into my bed to wake me.
I’ve been digging into Daniel Quinn’s work this summer. It’s insidious. But in a good way, if that’s possible to imagine. When you read it, your mind goes, “Okay, fine. Makes sense.” Then, it sits inside you very quietly. And you begin, almost without noticing, to think differently about this topic or that. The focus sharpens here and there. Elemental balance, really balance in general, is one of the topics shifting and changing within. I think, previously (although, honestly it’s hard to be sure) I felt like balance was something achievable. Once achieved, I think I believed balance could in theory be maintained– could become static– some sort of perfect state of being where all concerns and stresses, the more obnoxious aspects of existence would simply melt away. If only I could strike the right balance. If only my relationships could strike the right balance. If only our nation could strike the right balance. But is that state of being in perfect static balance observable anywhere in this world? Do the lions or penguins or snakes or oceans or plains or forests or skies or stars or electrons or photons or quarks ever achieve it? Can I point to another system in all of existence that strikes a perfect balance and maintains it eternally?
Not yet. If I can come up with one, I’ll study the heck out of it. But for now, I am twisting and turning in and around the concept that balance is great, and it’s great to move towards and away from it as I go. However, just like the spirals and labyrinths that speak to my soul, evolution is not a linear process. It is not a balanced process either. So while I am incredibly grateful for the much-needed water, I temper that with attempting to maintain respect for the gifts of the flame. Those are sometimes difficult to be mindful of when the heat seems so utterly destructive and oppressive. Fluid is the word that floats on the surface in this moment. That is the balance I hope to seek. Fluid balance. That and a few more splashtastic dances in an August rain.