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Muddy Waters

Lately, my waters have felt muddied. For many months, everything felt clear. I could see down past the surface of the pond all the way down to the bottom. I could see the reflections on the water’s surface. I could dive down if I wanted, and explore the depths, or I could spend time above, exploring the world around me. In the stillness, there was the possibility to reflect on the depths of who I am and the possibilities of who I could be.


Something happened in the past few weeks. Perhaps it was the change in tone in our country. This new president is making things happen. Everything is changing, and fast. It’s all good, but it’s unbalancing. My internal equilibrium is off. People are getting vaccinated. There is a buzz of planning and next steps in every conversation. People are talking about traveling and going back to school and backyard barbeques.


And, at the same time, spring is here. In my part of the world, spring comes after many months of rain and darkness. The simultaneous emergence of the cherry blossoms, the sunny weather, and the longer days along with the feeling of safety and security in our surroundings and hope for brighter days ahead is thrilling. And overwhelming.


In the containment of the darkness of winter and safety regulations during COVID’s peak, the world felt very small, very controlled. Now it is like Disneyland, so much to see and do and we have to do it now.


I observe myself holding back, tentative about going on the rides, hiding from the larger-than-life Snow Whites and Daffy Ducks. It’s too much. The curly fries are too rich and the lines are too long. I crave a quiet bench in a park and a simple Tupperware of carrots with a side of peanut butter.


All of this activity has muddied my waters. When I look down, into the pond, I cannot see anything clearly. It’s murky, particles of the unknown floating as far as I can see. And the surface is rippled from the wind in the air; I cannot see the reflection of the trees or the sky above.


I sit by the pond, this place where I once derived such comfort in recent days. I miss the clear pool of possibility. The pond feels different. It is no longer the place I could go to contemplate and reflect in the quiet and calm. I don’t recognize the muddy waters anymore and I miss the old pond.


It’s hard to reconcile this feeling of loss when so much good is happening. The muddy waters are what is bringing us back to the way our lives used to be — working outside of our bedrooms, children spending time in community again, living without fear every single day.


There is a loss. I miss my clear pond. I know that I must welcome the way this new water looks right now. I must remind myself that there will be a time when the wind dies down and the debris in the water settles. The waters are muddy now, but the pond is still there. Soon, when this shift in our world is not so new, I will be able to see into the depths of the pond again. The surface of the water will be still and clear, making way for the reflections above to show themselves again.

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