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Remembering We Are Never Away from Home
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We need reminders that we are never away from home. Home is Earth. And this only Earth is all four elements, always in some kind of combination: earth, wind, fire, and …water.

Just remember. Just gleam into an embrace of an element. A memory of water. Water trickles through all memories. You have to cross water to get to a memory. I am reaching for a memory, but it trickles through my hands, it is water. I reach down inside and understand I have to drink the memory. Learning to gulp and sip all over again like a child with its first sippy cup.

A memory of water would include the time I almost drowned, a memory of water would include the ineffable inflation of all moods by the side of sea so lit with sun light I am as if on another planet that the one on which I reside. A memory of water today, sliding ice with a blade off the birdbath, just far enough to balance the thin sheaf of plated water on the edge.

Looking closer at the edge of the surface there are inexplicable teeth at the edge, stretching along for a good six inches, finer than any machine special hacksaw, and, they are moving with drip, melt from the sloped sheet drips across and melts the stunning shining teeth, one drip taking several teeth at a time, they are a minuscule even to the tiny drop. I pause to look at a flittering tentative bird, then stagger a few steps to examine a withered but dramatically beautiful now dried flower, flush with an artistic architecture of death, as harbinger of next spring’s season.

When I turn back, to examine the ice further, it is gone; wisped into sunlight, dropped into moist ground, seeping and cutting ever deeper into the earth, down to some unknowable water table reservoir. Full of dark promise, it knifes ever deeper without needing any teeth at all. In that moment of astonishment at its disappearing magic, I long the ice back to me.

I know I now have to wait for another long night to bloom a compact sheer compact skeleton of sheen, that will frame the flow into some yet unknown form that waits for someone close enough to apprehend the wonder of another picture of solidity. A frame that is also the picture, a picture that will create art, and from that will arise a create a unique understanding, just as ice momentarily frames water, and in this moment, frames its infinite capacity to imitate form in all myriads of fashion, waiting for us to notice and be filled, as we become the frame, inside which, all the cataracts flow to ground.

And I need remember that water is in every other element, always. I can listen into the sizzle of fire. I need only feel the stickiness of the soil, I need only to feel the touch of my own breath upon my lungs to know, even without gills, I am breathing in water. Water is a good place to begin, because it flows around us in all elements, and also flows within us, every living moment. Water is a good place to begin, but it is not the end.
What end?

The water cycle, I know, is circular, not linear. A great comfort: of no end. Looking beyond form into continuity, the same might be found elsewhere?

The fire cycle? All in flux and transformation, from ash that feeds soil that grows the new trees to be burned once again. Lightening does strike twice in the same place, because, like horseshoes, a close enough tiny point of contact counts for all and can give repetitive conflagration.

The air cycle? Those same trees transforming nitrogen and carbon dioxide into oxygen, tirelessly, endless, as we, all living respirating things, give back that carbon for further green life.

The earth cycle? That’s easy. All is compost. Even nuclear waste has a half-life and the earth’s patience is only limited by the fuel supply within the sun. And who knows what cycle is set by a white dwarf or a supernova? It is beyond our ken, but all orbits suggest a circular path of reinvention and recreation.

There is a thrush of thrill in Eliot’s mantra: “in our end, is our beginning.” Eternal return, not in form, but in intention. We can fuse with that intention and find our true natures, which exist in the plenitude of an infinite variety of combinations of the elements. Everyday alchemy, mystery and magic, far beyond our sciences.

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