Pond Musings and a summer day

Written By: Nanci LaGarenne

I sit by the pond and seek sanctuary. That is after all what we created it for, this oasis of quiet, save the rushing waterfalls and splashing of eager koi for their breakfast. It is quiet this morning in the woods of East Hampton, Freetown, to be specific, where the Native ones first settled and whose bones dwell below on sacred ground. I recited Native American poetry by this pond the summer I took that course through Independent Study, listening to the poem’s rhythm and cadence mingled with birdsong and a chorus of tree peepers. Today I don’t recite poetry. I’m in the mood for just listening to nature.
Voices in my head are louder. “ You know better.” I do know better. But we feel with our hearts, not our minds. People disappoint you. It’s human nature. But it doesn’t feel very humane. It hurts. Loved ones can cut you to the core and friends can make you feel like you were left waiting in the pouring rain when they promised they would show up. There was no promise, just assumption. Ah, that word can be so misconstrued. “Never assume,” we say. “But it was a good assumption,” I plead to the jury of koi in my pond. They keep eating their organic oat cereal and ignore me. Par for the course, I think.
My disappointment stems from a conversation a friend and I shared from our souls. How the time we spend together is precious and we ought to make time for more of it. But then, when the time presents itself, the friend cannot be around. The friend is too busy, over-scheduled, and they don’t remember the conversation the way I do. Maya Angelou constantly reminds us that “People show you who they are. Believe them the first time.” And that other gem, “Past behavior is an indicator of future behavior.” She is very popular, my friend. Everyone wants to spend time with her. She seemingly likes to keep busy. No one is forcing her. Maybe the very ground she needs to still her scares her or makes her anxious? I don’t know. Maybe it’s not personal. It usually isn’t. Personally, I am grounded. I need the earth to still me. I cannot comfortably flit about. Too many people around makes me anxious. I like a close circle of friends. One or two at a time. Just the way I roll. She rolls differently. Chalk and cheese, as the Irish say. But I miss her. I like our together time. I’ll let it go.
Yoga teaches us to hold poses and to let go when we need to. It teaches us to dare to go inside, where it may not be comfortable to look. The chakras or body map if you prefer, or sacred points, are a sign of where we need to look. Are we choked up? Feeling unheard? Stoke the fifth chakra, at the throat. Think of lapis lazuli, that gorgeous blue, the ocean, the sapphire waves and open up your voice. Red will be the root chakra, your base, for grounding and keeping your feet firmly planted, when they’d rather run away. Stillness and breathing in quiet meditation reveals multitudes of answers. Or just the one message you need to hear. We choose what we need to do or unconsciously do because sometimes as the Woody Allen line goes, “he needs the eggs.” We need to believe what we believe to live with our choices. If it’s that someone thinks they are a chicken, then that’s okay. We’ll let them believe it, because, well, we need the eggs.
I will go see David Whyte in October. God willing and the creek don’t rise. I like his poetry and his soothing Irish brogue, reading and telling stories of the places he’s visited and what he learned about life and people and mostly, himself. “Everything is waiting for you,” he says. “Don’t act the drama of believing you are alone. The kettle sings to you as it pours you a drink. The cooking pots are no longer hanging aloof as they nourish you, the window latch promises your freedom…Everything, everything is waiting for you.”
Yes it is, I think, after all.
Summer feels like a candle flickering and I don’t want it to burn out yet.
I read about a woman around the corner who threw an empty champagne bottle into the outside garbage can, only to have it ricochet off the rim and break in large pieces, one glass piece went into her barefoot and sliced through a tendon and she had to have surgery to repair it and she is in a cast off her feet for a while. She is a bartender. So I guess that’s that for her summer. It reminded me of the summer of my stress fractured foot. The summer I left my marriage and home and wound up throwing my L-4 lumbar out and was in such pain that I went over to use the hot tub at the house I no longer lived in, but my estranged husband remained. Instead, I found that empty Vive Cliquot champagne bottle floating in a bucket of warm water on the hot tub step. That feeling in the pit of my stomach sent me reeling. The adrenaline rushing in my brain and body. Anger. Hurt. Intruder. Betrayal. It came back to me yesterday. The indelible picture of the champagne bottle. I can’t look at those yellow label Vive Cliquot bottles without thinking of that afternoon I briefly returned home.
A woman around the other corner had a brain tumor. Her name is Suzanne, like the Joan Baez song and she is bubbly like champagne, which I do not like, but I like Suzanne. I met her the summer after we moved in to Blue Bottle, my old house. She loves life. Yesterday she was having the brain tumor removed. I said a prayer for her to get through it and be okay. Keeping things in perspective, I notice the sunflowers blooming and the daylilies a dark shade like maroon velvet sway in the summer breeze. People talk endlessly about the best lobster roll in town. I stand by the Fish Farm by the old Stink Docks, on that score, hands down. A lobsterman lives to tell about his rescue from the sea. It’s a small town miracle. Dare we ask for another? Do we get one a year? How does that work? I think of Suzanne.
People are moving as slow as molasses in the south these hot summer days. It’s kind of nice to see them slow down and smell the roses or the lattes. The bays are calm as glass and the dragonflies are magnificent. The damselflies so regal in their blue green loveliness. “Stay, “ I want to call out to them. “You are summer and summer must not end.” But it must, of course. Just not yet. More swims, more books to read on the beach and more fireflies to count on dark warm nights.
I love that porch at Springs General Store. The rocking chairs, the old church pew bench, the sturdy blue Adirondack chairs. It’s so relaxing and a step back in time, looking across at Pussy Pond on the clearest of summer afternoons. The food is so delicious and the iced coffee is a bottomless urn of ice cold Joe. Simplicity is intoxicating. I am drunk with the day.
My new home is called Bliss Cottage. I put that intention out there when I named it. I considered The Cork, since the old house is Blue Bottle, but that sounded a bit limiting. And the name might be mispronounced and that wouldn’t be good. So Bliss it is. It makes me happy just seeing the name on the door.
I met a woman in CVS the other day and she looked like a hippie Madonna in a flowing caftan with an infant in a stroller. “Excuse me,” she said, “Could you help me? I am having trouble choosing a face powder. You have specific skin, it’s very nice, that’s why I asked you.”
“Thank you,” I said. I left thinking that this was a most pleasant CVS excursion. I was glad I met the woman in the flowing caftan. The day can turn you inside out if you let it. Me and my specific skin were not going to let that happen. OM. Deep breath. Bliss.