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photo by the author
Wisdom of the waterfall
© Myriah Krista Walker 2002
The usual route on my hike up a favorite wilderness creek was not available. The log and rope that had been secured for years and provided portage across a section over a deep pool had fallen in. Yet just up the creek an alternative route was available. The words came forth; “Spirit always provides a way, though the alternative may require one to face their fears.”
Sure enough, this alternate log lay flat across the fast-flowing white water, but it was secure enough. I could be really brave and walk across it, or succumb to the safety of scooting my bum little bit by little bit. I opted for the latter. It was safer, I do not trust my fears moving across a log over water, and what the heck did it matter how I got across as long as I got across?
After the crossing and then maneuvering up a steep bank to the main trail, my hand reached out for help from a nearby plant to pull me up. Ooops, wrong plant. It was a rose bush, and though void of the many small pink flowers that would soon be in bloom, it was abundant in tiny thorns. I thanked the bush for its gifts as I plucked the thorns from my fingers, and then pulled out a rose bud from my bag. I had brought three red rosebuds and intended on blessing the Earth with their petals as I hiked. I left a petal upon the plant that stuck me and continued to walk on, thanking my husband for the gifts he has shared with me as I dropped each petal.
My husband passed away 3 and ½ years ago, and today was to have been our 10th anniversary. He used to say he wanted to remarry me on our 10th anniversary, and so this year it was a struggle for me to set aside my sorrows. Our love had been a deep and beautiful one, our wedding ceremony unique and made special in our personal way, and I dearly missed his physical presence upon this Earth.
Two days ago I had been working for a friend at her store. I was musing that perhaps I should buy some roses for today and do some kind of ceremony. Just something that would help me to get through the day, and to put my intent in place. I thought about this, and then got busy with other tasks and forgot about the idea.
A couple hours later a gentleman walks into the shop. He works for a wholesale florist, and just happens to have a dozen long-stemmed red roses for sale for $15. At normally $60 a dozen, this was definitely a steal! Forgetting my thoughts from before, I looked at the roses and thought to myself that I really couldn’t afford to spend that much, and so I sent the man away.
Immediately when the door closed, I felt the presence of an angel wrap his arms around me from behind and weep. The roses had been a gift! Spirit had indeed answered my thoughts and sent this man with a bouquet of beautiful long-stemmed roses! How could I be so silly! I ran out the door and found the man in another part of the building and hurried him back. And so it was, spirit had sent me a dozen beautiful red roses for this anniversary day.
Now I walked along the trail, plucking a deep red petal from the rose bud, and blessing it by saying how thankful I was for certain qualities my husband had shared with me. “Thank you for teaching me that love never dies,” I dropped a petal. “Thank you for loving me while you were on this Earth,” I dropped a petal. Other times I spoke of things I was grateful for, or voiced things I needed to feel forgiveness for. It was a tender way of sharing my love for him upon this Earth, and leaving a piece of beauty in my wake. It was a healing way of focusing on what was real and enduring and helping me to move through my sorrow of missing him.
Along the trail a brown butterfly caught my attention. He fluttered before me and then stopped on what appeared to be a large dead bush. But he began drinking the nectar from a tiny bud at the very end of a long thin branch. Although the bush looked dead, it was actually getting ready to sprout new life. That which appears dead and dying transforms.
Certainly a fitting message to receive this day. All about me were sounds of birds, water, wind, dry leaves rustled by small lizards and gophers. A breeze would come forth and make the tall pines sway as though they were calling me. “Myriah, Myriah. Dry your tears. Love is here to stay.” And so I would stop and hug the tall pine, and feel its Gentle Presence lending me strength. And so as I hiked I healed. My sorrows were lifted, and I began to feel Joy and Peace. And I felt Gratitude for such healing.
Another mile, more memories and tears. Another rose bud comes out of my bag and more declarations of Love help me to clarify my intent. When the bud is completely pealed I leave its fragrant essence beside a tall ponderosa pine. I love the butterscotch smell of ponderosa pines, and I lingered long with this one, pressing my cheek against its bark.
Sometimes I wonder which comes first, the question or the answer. Three miles along the trail up Deep Creek, I suddenly think of a spirit guide named Kristos. I have not talked to her in quite some time, but suddenly there she is. I think to her, “Kristos, who am I?” Perhaps she can help me to clarify Who I Am in the midst of so many thoughts and memories.
Just after asking the question, a trail appears to the left, leading steeply down the ravine towards the creek at the bottom. “You are there,” she says, referring to the trail. At first I am unwilling to step off the main path. I had planned to go to a certain destination and didn’t want to change course. But a few steps later I see that across the creek there is a beautiful waterfall. It is spectacularly unexpected, and the path leads right to it. I backtrack to the path and step carefully along it as it falls steeply to the bottom of the ravine.
The path ends directly in front of the waterfall at the bank of the creek. Mossy stones provide a perfect sitting space among willow and pine. As I sit down, Kristos says, “This is you. You are like this beautifully unexpected waterfall. Your words add to the upliftment of consciousness, much like this waterfall adds to the bounty of the creek.
“The waterfall’s essence comes from the top of the peak, fresh and clean and pure. Sorrow blocks the awareness of the flow that continues on. Your sorrows turn your attention away, but Love still flows through you.”
As if to validate this, a tiny sweat bee hovers near my journal. “Hello little bee,” I say out loud, completely without fear. I send it a wave of Love from my Heart so it will know I mean it no harm. It lands upon the spirals of my journal and then sets its feet delicately upon the page. Unafraid.
“You do not know who will benefit from your stories, just as this waterfall does not know who will partake of its waters downstream,” Kristos continues. “But if even one waterfall ceases to give voice and share its essence, the whole is lessened. Do you understand?”
“Ay.” I often felt like I stuck out among my community, and sometimes this lead me to feel afraid of sharing my unique perspective and communications with nature. Kristos was encouraging me.
“I know your sorrows run deep, and your tears have filled all the rivers of this Earth a thousand times. After the rain comes bounty, for the waters provide nourishment for new life. Sorrow sometimes cannot be avoided, and you should never look down upon yourself for it. Just try to keep in your foremost Mind the vision of this waterfall, and how important and lovely and tender your stories are to us all.”
I pause for some time to think on her words before she continues.
“Moss grows beneath that waterfall. See how its steps are mossy beneath the waters? So too, abundance flourishes beneath and despite your tears.”
The waterfall spoke to me silently. When I looked at it, I felt joy, aliveness, freedom, willingness, and surrender. It felt feminine because of the soft way it splashed down the mossy rocks, her narrow form winding among many willows and plants that felt safe growing beside her banks. Not a forceful and powerful male presence that pummeled everything in it’s wake out of it’s way. A delicate gathering of white water cascading down the hillside.
If the creek were not so deep and swift, I would have crossed it and climbed her mossy steps and sat with her. Instead I breathed in her essence into my Heart from my spot across the shore. I asked Her to cleanse my sorrows and ease my Heart where it was tender. I asked Her essence to fortify my resolve and courage.
A pine branch behind me caressed my arm with the next breeze, and I feel the gentleness of a tall and slender pine. I caressed the branch with tenderness, and many pine needles fell away and clung to my skin. “Nature is giving today,” I thought.
I felt the soft and gentle presence of my husband many times that day. Like a gentle breeze pressing himself against me. Or his smile overlaying mine momentarily. Other times a special name he called me came forth from within my soul Heart.
His life on Earth was hard for him. He suffered many emotional challenges and struggled with alcoholism in his efforts to rise above his difficulties. How curiously comforting to feel his presence now as an angel; an unexpected fly landing on my knee; a butterfly drinking dew from freshly opened tree buds; a humorous lizard leaping across my trail. Each with an essence and signature that was uniquely his. In his own way, he continues to let me know that life is eternal, and there are aspects of himself everywhere.
The waterfall was teaching me surrender. The waterfall gives freely, spilling forth Her essence and joy and aliveness for all to partake of. Adding to the creek and contributing to the whole. I suppose I need to focus on the love I feel within me as though it were this waterfall. Not seeking an answer or reply, nor holding back because the one I wish to share it with is no longer on this Earth in human form. Simply to love each and every being that comes my way in a manner that is appropriate for each relationship.
The waterfall took away my sorrows and stress and doubts and confusions. Like a Goddess formed of wet white froth, it was impossible to stay sad sitting across from this essence with the many mossy rocks lining her banks and providing her bed shimmering in the sunlight.
My attention was diverted by several small and slender brown spiders in the willow bush to the right of me. There were about a dozen of them weaving octagonal webs on the branches overhanging the creek. One was so bold as to weave her web just inches above a fast-moving section of white water. The harvest must be good for so many to be able to share space in such close proximity to the other. And judging by the amount of flies that had been visiting me, I could attest to the bounty.
As each finished their woven loom, they then perched in the center upside down, silently waiting. The current made the willow branches bounce, so their bodies bounced up and down on their silken trampolines. Just a bobbing along.
Then one caught a tiny bit of leaf debris in its net. Quickly it grabbed the matter and tethered it along an anchoring thread near the base of the branch, then returned to its bobbing position in the center of its net. A small fly then entered the atmosphere, maneuvering deftly and barely missing three traps. Splashing water droplets destroyed another’s net, and so the weaver began making a new trap. It maneuvered like an adept acrobat along invisible threads while below it the white waters of the creek flashed by.
One of the other arachnids was bigger and heavier, and several strong gusts managed to break some of the anchors on its net, diminishing it by half. But the spider must have deemed its net to be large enough anyway, for it ignored the mishap and continued hanging on.
The sun moves, and many traps disappear into shadow and are now hidden from my view, although I am but a foot away. Perhaps the flies will not see their webs shining in the sunlight either. How deftly the spider weaves, and how efficiently they have woven my attention away from my sorrows and tethered my intent. I wonder where they will go at night. Will the cold bother them? And what birds and bats will stalk them?
I breathe in the essence of the waterfall again. The mighty sounds of creek and fall have drowned out mortal mind. I don’t want to leave this place. I want to linger, seduce the butterflies to land upon me, caress the moss with my bare feet. But the waterfall says I have stories to write, and so I must go. But a part of me will remain here, on this bank. Teasing the spiders and tickling the toes of the butterflies. And laughing and learning with the Goddess of the waterfall.