Lessons from the Creek
by Debbonnaire Kovacs
I was walking with my little Pomeranian along my creek a few days ago. Well–I was walking, she was dashing and splashing. I was surprised at how low the water level still is after all the rain we've had lately, and reflected that the drought had been so long and so hot that it would take a while to catch up. But then, it usually does dry up, or mostly dry up, during the summer months, and it always recovers eventually.
I always try to take our early morning walks in a prayerful mode, so it was a natural step to contemplate that I, too, "dry up" periodically. When I do, I generally panic, thinking that something is terribly wrong with me, I must not love God enough, or my fellow humans enough. Or maybe I don't healthfully love myself enough! Maybe there's something I'm supposed to be doing to care for my soul that would prevent this awful feeling of dryness, unproductiveness, isolation–give it what name you will.
I eyed the little brown stream, contentedly bubbling along (and the little blonde dog dashing about, sniffing glorious sniffs and making great waves and general delightful muddiness.) As Kentucky poet Wendell Berry says, the wild things don't "tax their lives with forethought of grief." The creek doesn't even notice that it's dry sometimes, let alone worry about it. If it could think, it would no doubt accept that it's a natural cycle, to be waited patiently through. Maybe even enjoyed. Kind of a vacation from wateriness.
It could be.
And I could accept the dry spell, trust that it's temporary, rejoice in the rest and rejoice also in the rain when it comes back. Splash in the storms and the puddles, explore the edges of my banks where the boundaries change daily, play with the puppies and the mud puppies.
I could. . .