Sometimes being reborn is not a choice. The water simply beckons.
The water sees the limp frame that you inhabit, the frame that once rippled taut and strong.
The water sees the pallid hue of your eyes, the eyes that once sparked with green flames.
The water hears the timbre of your voice and the way it has jangled itself flat.
And the water knows you can't go on living in this skin, skin that you have worn threadbare with trying, even after the trying proved futile.
The water knows the weariness that decorates your soul.
And so the water sends a ripple out to your feet and parts itself for you. The water extends its hand.
"Come," it says. "Let me hold you."
You look down. You want this step almost as much as you don't. You need this step, even as you choke on grief for what is left behind. But what it is, really, that is left behind?
You wade in.
The water is fine.
Soundtrack: Lindi Ortega, "Til the Going Gets Gone"
Ah. You remember, don't you? How it felt?
You were newly on your own and you weren't sad in the least. No. Rather, you relished every second of every day.
You savoured deep, dark, delicious sleep. And you rose early to chase the dawn in running shoes, taking in each shard of light as it crested through the dense foliage of the valley.
The water shimmered grey-blue in the morning light, and the air was thickened by the sounds of industrious woodpeckers, whip-winged barn swallows, and sing-song Eastern phoebes calling to each other from opposite river banks.
At night you sat beneath the stars, a dog's head in your lap. You looked deeply into the black heavens and felt only serenity.
You longed for nothing ~ and no one. You were content. Content in your own skin, in your own heart, in your own life.
You feel that way right now, right here in this moment, don't you? The water has reminded you. It spills over the edge high above and falls with joyful abandon, dancing in every direction as it explodes on the surface like a silver fireworks display. It sings as it cascades through the air, a hymn to having no purpose save for being exactly what it is. It swirls and bobs, in love with the freedom of movement. And there you are, in the middle of it.
What do you need to do to get back here? What do you need to do to inhabit this space wherever you are? What do you need to do to find that peace again?
Soundtrack: Ra Ra Riot, "Water"
In the moments of hollowing loneliness it is so easy to get lost in the dark.
It is so easy to make yourself a paragon of failure and catalogue all the ways you imagine having fallen short.
It is easy to picture him, them ~ fuck, everyone who watches you bleed out your soul in words ~ laughing at your quaint notions of love and desire while the real game unfolds in plain sight as you watch from the sidelines. And what a fool you were to ever think you were an actual contender.
You can't carry this distortion with you. It's dense and deadly and its weight will drown you.
So leave it here, on these rocks. Choke it out, cry it out, press your lips against this jagged surface and speak the pain that pierces your heart.
Then let the water wash it away.
Soundtrack: Whitehorse, "Die Alone"
The experience of forgiving grace. Then regeneration.
You weren't expecting to be baptized in these waters. You came here to see and to feel and to share, but you are leaving changed.
And perhaps it is not even so much as changed, but clear ~ cleansed by the power of water so that only the basic truths remain. They are the same as they have always been, but they sparkle with crystal clarity after this ablution. Perhaps it is only now that you are ready to see them. Really see them.
You are safe here, watched over and enveloped by the water. These undulating, liquid arms have always brought you a sense of peace. You feel whole and free when you are immersed. It has been some time since you have been in open water, and you feel the sacredness of this moment ~ and the bounden duty to commit to the rebirth it offers.
Now there is only one thing left to do...
Soundtrack: kd lang, "Hallelujah"
To live so boldly and openly that you would never look back with regret. Leave no path untried. Leave no important words unsaid. No one can say you didn't succeed at least in that.
You gave unabashedly. You gave generously. You gave meaningfully. You gave when it was easy to do so, and, perhaps more importantly, when it was hard. You gave because you simply weren't able not to.
You loved another human being with the very best of who you are. What a rare gift that is, and what a beautiful thing to discover about the capacity of one's own heart.
But life does not guarantee that love will ~ that it can ~ be accepted, reciprocated. And love given where there is no space for it to reside burdens the receiver and eventually leaves the giver empty. So it is time.
Here, now, in the water that cradles you ~
With your eyes cast aloft, your arms haloed above your head, and your chest and heart and spirit open to the sky ~
With every last bit of strength and grace and light you possess ~
Breathe deeply ~
Be brave ~
Let it go.
Photo credit: Thanks to two special friends who captured this magical and transformative moment in time.