Posts Tagged With: water

Friday Letters: Water Babies

“Always be like a water. Float in the times of pain or dance like waves along the wind which touches its surface.” ~Santosh Kalwar

Dear J, J, L and L,

One hundred four degrees. That’s the forecast high temperature here today. Makes me wish we still had a backyard pool like we had at the Saint Elena house. I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t have survived our first year or two here in Arizona without it, especially since we arrived in late August. Your ages then: sixteen, fourteen, nine, and five. I think it bridged the age gap between big kids and little kids quite effectively.

photo by: The High Fin Sperm Whale (really)

photo by: The High Fin Sperm Whale (really)

I think it’s really true that water is the stuff of life. If I think about it even a little, water plays an integral part in most of my memories of raising the four of you.

J and J, that little sandbox you played in nearly always ended up filled with water after hours of building roads or tunnels or castles. And the blue plastic play pool? Less than a foot of water and maybe six feet across, it got so hot some days even I sat down in it with you. You even managed to add water to the bouncy times at Grandpa’s and Grandma’s on the trampoline, turning on the sprinkler underneath and getting totally soaked.

Hour long baths highlighted most days and brought them to a stellar, soggy end for you two oldest when you were toddlers. Do you remember the big garden tub that we filled with bubbles and containers? You made it into your personal wave pool and played until the water cooled and you both shivered. I sat nearby on the toilet seat or counter top, usually reading a book, out of reach of your splashing and waterfalls and container experiments. It was my hour of mental escape.

Then when we made the move to the Northwest, about the time L came along, we hung out occasionally at Puget Sound, mucking about along the rocky shore. Once you brought home a pail of barnacles that we set out on the balcony. Nothing else smells quite as bad as dead sea life in a bucket.

Mostly we spent about three hours a day or more at the pool all summer long. You two older kids each wore a red tank top with a built-in inner tube. Fearless, as usual, you launched off the diving board about a hundred times an hour. We often brought lunch and lots and lots of snacks and juice boxes. Poor little L would get tuckered out and we’d put her in the shade in her stroller and let her sleep while we swam even longer. You had the brownest bodies, with tan lines that latest until Christmas.

Camping up near Index we always set up our tent beside that creek which you three oldest kids spent hours splashing and playing in. I think you even attempted to build a small dam to pool the water so you could swim. Too bad the water temperature always hovered near freezing as it flowed down out of the Cascades.

photo by: Michael Conti

photo by: Michael Conti

When we finally landed in the midwest, with its humidity and ever changeable weather, our summer days revolved around the local swimming pool hours and what times our friends would also arrive.

By then the red swim shirt inner tubes fit big L and little L or “fish girl” as we should have called her. At two and half, our golden blond baby leapt off the diving board into twelve feet of water like she was born to do just that. Meanwhile, poor big L hunkered at the edge of the pool, hands in prayer form, tipping herself gingerly into the water in her year-long attempt at mastering diving.

By then J spent his time trying to make his enormous splashes off the diving board land on the life guard. And J, like most teenage girls her age, spent her time working on her tan, chatting with her friends and catching the eye of a few too many guys. Ah, those were the days, huh?

When the diving board lost its entertainment value, I recall sitting in the baby pool, while L and L played beauty salon with me acting the role of the hapless customer. Pretend perms, shampoos and styles seem to last for hours.

The smell of sunscreen conjures such sweet remembrances in me. To drive past a public swimming pool all but makes me laugh. Rarely do I add bubbles to a bath without recalling countless bare bums and smiling faces poking out of mountains of white foam. It seems at least half my memories of each of you involve water somehow.

DaVinci once said, “Water is the driving force in nature.” That’s true on many levels. I know it’s especially true for your growing up years. If ever you feel an emotional drought in your life, I hope you remember as I so often do, the wonderful, water filled memories we shared.

With love and laughter,



“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.” ~ Margaret Atwood








Categories: Family, Friday Letters, Memory Lane | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment


I captured some bits of nature this past month. Actually, I only managed to get photographs of those bits. The real thing took my breath away, time after time, and sadly, had stay behind.

photo-21 copy 8For instance, this lady bug that took a layover on my jeans as I sat lakeside. Crawled right on my finger, no hesitation, no worry. Then back to my jeans. The bright orange-red, the antennae, the black spots, vibrant and stunning in comparison to the azure water, the cerulean sky, the gray rock and sand.

photo-19 copy 3While hiking in the November forest, most of the trees bare for the coming snows, a few trees donned this delicate lacy moss. Reminded me of ice crystals, bright green and practically growing as I watched. Not sure I’ve ever seen a more lovely winter coat.

photo 2-2The waves at Lake Tahoe, one of the clearest I’ve ever seen, created this pattern in the beige sand, with a light dusting of almost black sand adding contrast. Incredible unique artwork.

photo 1-2But then I took a walk on the dock and saw this underfoot. Nearly the same waves duplicated in the wood that stands above the water. Nature duplicating nature?

photo-19 copy 13Trees never cease to surprise me. Frosty mornings, one after another, can strip most trees bare fairly quickly. And yet, here and there, bright colors hang on to their branches tenacious and brilliant. How many shades of orange can you see?

photo-18 copy 6Taking an alternate path down the mountain from the one we hiked up led to some backtracking, exploring and uncertainty. Fortunately it also led back, eventually, to somewhere close to where we started. Nature continued to surprise and delight along the way. Looking back where I’d been I captured this view, one that felt somehow like biting into a fresh peach. The juice of the moment running down my chin, the sweetness saturating all my senses.

If I ever get to doubting about the wonder and beauty of life, I simply need to slow down, look around and pay attention.



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Skipping Rocks

It’s Gratituesday! Today I am thankful for all the time I’ve spent skipping rocks. Sending a small flat rock spinning out of  my hand to dance across the surface of the water vibrates some string in me.

Perhaps it’s the wonder of making something heavy and utterly unfloatable perform such a magical feat.

Perhaps it’s the surroundings of shore, sky, water, wind and trees.

Perhaps it’s due to the contemplative nature of finding just the right shape and size of flattened, smooth rock.

Surface waves

That perfect chord vibrating deep within me might even happen as I watch the circle of ripples each skip of the rock creates. One, two, three, four, FIVE! I haven’t ever skipped much further than five bounces on the surface. Some people have just the right touch and can make those rocks fly, barely touching the surface multiple times.

Water fascinates and soothes. Listening to waves, whether the quiet lapping on a pebbled lake shore, or the roar of wave crashing into rock and sand at the ocean, both lull and awe. Like watching the earth breathing, in and out, in and out, I find comfort in the rhythm and consistency.

Add water to the equation of a bored or stressed child and the sum is contentment and happiness. The ever-changing yet constant quality of  water makes it the perfect toy, the ultimate entertainment. Filling container after container, sloshing, splashing, pouring, dripping, diverting, puddling, spraying, flooding. Bath time could last for hours.

As opposite as night and day, hot and cold, rocks and water. Rocks resist movement and change. Rocks just sit there. Or so it seems. The change rock undergoes is slow, nearly invisible, requires eons. And yet there is evidence of change in the round smoothness of river rock, the zillions of grains of sand on a beach, the fissures and arches of sandstone, the worn down hill of a former mountain.


Can’t say I’ve ever heard or seen a mom say, “here’s some rocks, have fun, kid.” Not likely. It takes some direction to know how to make a rock become a toy. Or a tool for contemplation. Or a form of competition.

Rock and water.

I could use a couple of hours sending some rocks skipping across the water. Glad I learned how. Extra happy that I understand the joy of such a simple, small action.

Categories: Gratitude, Gratituesday, Nature, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Unmatchable Pleasure of Puddle Jumping

The rarity of rain in the desert brings out the oddness in some of us dry skinned, somewhat parched critters. Today’s downpour, complete with a bit of surprising lightning, reminds me of some delicious memories.

We don’t live in a rural area, but we have rural patches of neighborhoods in the landscape of our town that haven’t been incorporated into the city. This leaves wonderful one and two acre lots with farm animals, irrigation, bumpy roads without curbs, traditional  on post mailboxes out front of the houses, and best of all, a sense of the history of this former farming community turned big city suburb.

2000 Jeep Cherokee

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used to drive my youngest daughter to fifth and sixth grade, usually taking a short stretch of county road. On rainy days the water would flow haphazardly on the edges of the road in huge muddy puddles. At the time we were driving a well-loved older model Jeep Cherokee with four-wheel drive.

Did you know if you’re going just the right speed and hit a puddle at a certain spot you’ll get a wide arching wall of water that can shoot out a good twenty feet? My daughter and I discovered that one drizzly morning.

Rainy school mornings took on a whole different feel for us. The anticipation of knowing we’d get to splash and spray our way to the school motivated us so we were usually ready to go earlier than usual. We called these mornings puddle jumping days.

Fortunately no one was ever walking the muddy shoulder of the road on rainy days. Approaching a glistening pool of brown water filled us with excitement. The sensation of tires hitting the edge of the puddle was answered with a marvelous shower and spray of water propelling outward and upward in an artistic chocolate sweep. Sometimes, depending on the depth of the puddle and the angle the tires hit the water, we’d end up covering the jeep in a  deluge of mucky water. Fortunately I usually had the wipers already going due to the rain pouring down.

Child enjoys a puddle in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Does this look fun, or what? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We aimed for puddle after puddle all the way down the road. I’m sure any onlookers thought we were high school troublemakers raising havoc. The goats and sheep looked on in bemused silence. We left behind emptied puddles and chaos.

Ah, we laughed our way to school those days.

I still can’t resist a puddle on the side of the road, whether I’m walking or driving. I want to make a splash, soak everything in sight then look behind me at the mayhem.

Today is gonna be a great one!

Categories: Joy, Memory Lane, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Singing in the Rain

Goutte d'eau.

Goutte d’eau. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three days of  rain!  Yes, we’ve had rain in abundance.  Not the quick blast from a passing cloud that pounds the ground with too much water then runs off the desert’s hard surface, but a slow soaking, drizzly mist, with an occasional extra burst of water washing down the sky.

Walking at the Riparian in the rain gives the place an entirely different spin.

I’ve been here literally hundreds of times.  I’ve walked the same paths, sat on the same benches, paused at the same spots, turned left at the same tree.

Today is different.

Today rain has changed everything.

Instead of hearing the crunch of gravel under every footfall, I hear the plash and patter of drops through the leaves, a quiet drumming on the water’s surface.

Today the greens are more alive and vibrant with a sheen of moisture and a kind of renewed energy of life.

Today the flower buds on the bushes glow with a difference in the light.  This isn’t the usual direct sun, but a diaphanous cloud-filtered light that highlights colors more.

There’s a bush that looks as if it’s been hung with pearls.  The raindrops have gathered on the ends of each branch on a small, solid puff-ball, giving the illusion of an ice droplet or a crystallized grain of sand.  Nature’s magic at it’s best.

The ducks wander the paths today, not content to stay in their ponds.  A turtle plods across a grassy patch and pushes its way into the thick, wet undergrowth.

Swallows dip, soar, swoop, circle, and skim the water’s surface, dancing an intricate and ancient rhythm.

The air is humid with the verdant scent of growth and hope.

I feel newly washed after three days of these gifts from the clouds. Almost anything is possible.  Or so it seems.

Categories: Joy, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Take a Walk With Me

The most luxurious thing I can think of to do today would be to have a whole day to myself.  I’d go for a long morning walk.  I’d clean the house.  I’d sit with a hardbound book and immerse myself in its pages, emerging hours later dripping with the story, washed new by the author’s words.

It’s been a while since I’ve done any of those things.

Must be time to give in, if I’m fantasizing about them.

It’s not likely I’ll have a day to myself, not with everyone’s schedule around here.  But the long walk, I could manage that.  Early mornings have a chill to them, but I could bundle up, layer on a few sweaters, put on some gloves, wrap a scarf and throw on a hat, if I can find one.  Then off I’d go to my favorite retreat.

Our little “town” had the foresight a few years back to create some open spaces.  The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch is one of these places.  The large windowed library nestles into one corner of its 110 acres, with a cement skirted duck pond and sidewalk.  Perfect for parents with strollers and tots, or people with wheelchairs,walkers or canes, it serves as a buffer zone of the “wilder” parts of the park. It’s nicely lit in the evening if a couple feels inclined to walk and talk. There’s always an urban fisherman or two there, almost any time of the day or year. They even added an observatory a few years ago.

My favorite area there is away from the concrete and crowds.   Further in, nestled among trees and all sorts of green growing things, is meandering paths that skirt seven different ponds.  The developers designed the entire area to refill and recharge the city  acquifer.  As reclaimed water is pumped into the ponds it filters into the ground and recycles.  It’s a pretty smart idea.

The bonus is that the area has become a haven for birds of all kinds. Herons, hummingbirds, geese, lovebirds, terns, owls, hawks, ducks are just a few of the over 150 species found there.  As a result, photographers, birdwatchers, and nature lovers also frequent the area.

Wandering the trails a person could walk almost four and a half miles. In years past I’ve spent considerable time there and become a little possessive of the area.  There was a group of seven geese that I chatted with daily, even if they were a bit grouchy with me. I’ve lost touch with them and miss that daily interaction.

I feel lucky to have such a haven in the desert. A walk there fills and recharges my own waning resources. Enough of this writing thing. I’m going for a walk.  I’ll see ya later.

Categories: Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Dew Drop In

Dew drops

Dew drops (Photo credit: Moyan Brenn)

Dew is on the grass today.

“Yeah, so what?” you might say.

But in a desert climate, dew is a glorious thing.  It means visible water.  Dew means moisture in the air.  Dew is life-giving around this part of the country.

At a sharp, early angle, the morning sunlight on the dew gives it a frost like glow of whiteness.  A kid on his way to the bus stop short cuts through the park and leaves a dark trail of footsteps through the dew, clearer than a path through snow.   His shoes will be sodden through most of the morning.

The sun rises higher, the shadows shorten, the dew begins to evaporate.

Am I silly to wax poetic about droplets of water on grass?  Maybe.  Yet there is nothing so miraculous as those tiny drops of hydrogen and oxygen molecules in that perfect recipe.  In one drop an entire rainbow resides.

A smattering of water from the sky, at just the right season of the year, can prompt thousands of smaller-than-a-dime frogs to emerge from their yearlong underground slumber.  A miniature migration of froglets push their way from one puddle to another puddle for reasons unknown to us mere mortals.  And then, the rain subsides, and the little hoppers migrate underground again.  All that from a bit of rain.

The desert literally blossoms after a rain.  Cacti drink deeply and plump up., agave plants send growths skyward,  blooms appear on spiny plants, flowers pop up out of cracks and crevices and bare patches.  It’s the desert giving out a visual sigh.

The part of the desert I live in has been temporarily reclaimed from the typical scrub and scrap and dust by canals, irrigation, concrete, electricity, pavement, and row upon row of almost identical houses.  If the water went away, so would the people, like so many flowers after the desert rain.

I suppose that’s true of any area of civilization.  Water is the one critical ingredient for success.  Just those two simple hydrogen molecules combined with an oxygen molecule are all that keep it together for us.

My wonder and awe at the dew on the grass doesn’t seem so odd I think.  Perhaps the dew deserves an homage, a song in its honor, a statue in some park, at the very least a day on the calendar to celebrate its immense power.

Imagine that.  We’d all go around saying, “Happy Dew Day! or “Happy Water Day!“  Then we’d all drink a glass of water in honor of the lowly, mighty water droplet.   Just briefly, once a year, we’d recognize how our life teeters on the rim of a cup, acknowledge out reliance on water and honor the idea that we thrive in its presence.

I hope you notice and enjoy the water in your life today.

Raise a glass, and then drink up.

Categories: Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Cool Glass of Water

You know that feeling you have when you've been thirsty for a while, quite a while, and you finally, blessedly get that drink of water?  You guzzle that drink like your life depends on it.  (It does.)  You might even let some water dribble out the sides and run down your chin and neck because you're so thirsty you just forget about manners and appearances.  And when you're done pouring that liquid into your parched body you let out that loud, contented sigh.  Aaaaaaahhhhhhhh...

At Last

That feeling right there is how the cool air feels to me when it finally arrives here in the desert.

To honor that delicious, long drink of cool air that is in the atmosphere this Tuesday morning, I’m providing a list of other wonderfully satisfying experiences in my life.

– unrestrained, unstoppable laughter after a really good joke

– the golden color and sound of fall quaking aspen leaves

– my granddaughter snuggling up to my shoulder and settling in as if she’s found home.

– crumbling dirt clods with my bare hands just before planting seeds

– photographs of my children when they were young and still in awe of the world

– being lost in a book so thoroughly that time disappears and doesn’t matter

– dancing when no one else is around

– catching the perfect edge of a wave on a boogie board

– long, winding conversations

– having and taking the time to go the scenic route

This is by no means a complete list.  Just a smattering of joys to share with you this fine Tuesday morning.  I hope if this prompts you to think of some of your own soul quenching joys you’d feel willing to share with me.  I’d love to hear about them.

Categories: Gratituesday, Outdoors | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

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