Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Swimming in the Dark

With a regular work day followed by Vacation Bible School, today is the kind of day where if I was to get any exercise, I needed to get it done early.  And so, at 5:30 one morning, I went out to the pool and started swimming my laps.  I'm not usually swimming for exercise in the dark.

As I swam, I thought about how my experience was a metaphor for our creative lives.  In the following meditation, is that creative life the pool, the dark, the swimmer?  All of the above?  Something else?

As I swam, I thought about how familiar it all was and also, how different.  I was comforted by the sounds of the birds singing in the trees, and creeped out by the unfamiliar and unexpected things my fingers touched (mainly leaves, with the occasional dead bug).  In the dark, the landscape looks like I remember, yet so different at the same time.  I heard the rustle of the wind in the palm trees, and I didn't flinch, but when I heard a different scampering, my brain went to fear.

I saw pulses from lightning, likely miles away, far out in the Everglades or in the Atlantic.  I saw planes, but I was unsure of their flight patterns.  I heard the roar and the clunking into quiet of many an air conditioner.

I was held up by the water, never in danger of drowning, since the maximum depth is five feet or so.  I was in the safety of my back yard.  And yet I live in an urban part of the country, with millions of people never far away.  I never truly feel safe, but I go forward, hoping for the best.

In the dark, it's easy to feel a mystical presence.  It's easier to live with the fact that I'm not as sure of my senses, especially my sense of sight, as I am in broad daylight.  It's easier to believe that there might be more, much more, beyond what my senses tell me.

There are delights that come with the daylight, to be sure.  This morning, I saw a cardinal in a papaya tree--that, too, seemed a mystical miracle.  I was eye to eye with a baby lizard, a creature I wouldn't have seen in the dark.

Let me continue to sing the delights of all creation, both the one I see clearly, and the one in the shadows.  Let me continue to craft my own work, sometimes in the full light, sometimes in the dark, always swimming.

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