A couple of weeks ago I just needed to escape from the hustle and scramble of daily life. I know it’s time, when I get short-fused, when my reaction time to any frustration is about a millisecond. My favorite escape to recovery is to go anyplace where I can fish. The quiet isolation of a lake or stream where I can hide in the splendor of nature makes everything else seem smaller, and this restores my balance.
There are lakes a couple of hours from Phoenix that in mid-February you can pretty much have all to yourself. I packed up my gear and left the city with the sky looking ominously dark. First I stopped first at a supermarket and filled my goody bag, back on the road it started raining heavily. The last 20 miles to Apache Lake was a steep, curvy, sometimes single lane dirt road (that occasionally gets closed because of flooding). I made it to some lodging and gratefully toasted my arrival.
The rain never stopped, I never wet a line; instead I curled up in bed and read a novel; ate and slept when I wanted, and watched the rain. When you take time to really watch a raindrop fall, you can see the drop accumulating slowly until its weight launches it into free-fall. The raindrop picks up speed until it becomes a blur before hitting the ground. Sometimes, in the flickering filtered light, it created a stroboscopic effect, which made the drops appear to slow down so that I could see clearly the entire journey to the end.
When you watch the rain like that it’s easy to go into deep trance; I went to Ft. Hale Park in East Haven, CT. where I walked with my kids to pick up the Sunday New York Times. If it rained we’d stop under a covered shelter overlooking Long Island Sound and I’d recite this poem by an anonymous English poet….I like to come to this quiet place and breathe the air that ruffles my face
and gaze upon thee in silent dream
for in thy lonely and lovely stream
an image of that calm life appears
that won my heart in my greener years
…when I come to these quiet places, I get dizzy with the rapture of life.
It was still drizzling when I drove back up the slippery road; through rainbow-colored cliffs and giant Saguaro cacti. The classical music station happened to be playing a Vienna Philharmonic recording of Johann Strauss’ Tales from the Vienna Woods, my parents favorite song The windshield wipers harmonized with the music, and I saw my mother and father dancing on the walls of this magnificent stage.
Tears welled up in my eyes; I do not go to the cemetery to see them, because I never feel their presence there. But here, in this magical place, I feel their spirit, and think this is how I want to be remembered, dancing in the rain in the Garden of Eden.