Our Lake is half Full, Our Lake is half Empty

lake's mud now blooms

lake’s mud now blooms ~d nelson

Paddling hard against the wind
steady, energetic strokes
in time with breathing.
heart, paddle, lake synchronized
going both somewhere and nowhere at all.
kayak meditation on our half-filled lake.

mind identifies vital life sources:
wind breathed in, breeze breathed out
water pulsing within, water waves splashing without.
no need for thinking,
mind relaxes, as a passenger
on this shimmering moment’s bon voyage.

sitting relaxed as wind carries me back
going by a fisherman who cries there’s no fish.
instead of whispering about the one’s
as big as alligators, flopping in the shallows
i spare him the fish story and nod
about drought causing lake’s half-emptiness.

on shore a young man shouts
at his girlfriend across the parking lot.
under the influence of anger, despair, joblessness.
so hard to be both alive and dead these days
needing to make a living for food & feeling whole
when there is no right to work.

all i think to do is listen, breathing calmly.
i offer him my sandwich and fruit
in exchange for a hand;
putting the boat upon the roof rack.
for the moment there is no yelling.
just smiles carried across the water by wind towards freedom.

happy as loons

happy as loons

Today’s paddle poem reminds me of a story told by Thich Nhat Hanh about a farmer whose only horse ran away. The villagers bemoaned the bad luck of the farmer. Later, the horse returned with a second horse. “What a lucky man!” the villagers proclaimed. The farmer’s son tried to tame the wild horse and was thrown off, braking his leg. “How unlucky,” the villagers said. The next day, the army came through the village and took every able-bodied young man to fight in the war. The farmer’s son was spared because of his broken leg. And so it goes. Riding waves within a glass, which is both half empty & half full.

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31 thoughts on “Our Lake is half Full, Our Lake is half Empty

  1. ShethP

    Love the lines, “no need for thinking” and “so hard to be both alive and dead these days”. 🙂

    A meaningful poem and lovely as well. You have described the setting perfectly, looking at things from a wider viewpoint… It invokes a sense of sadness but then again, we have to remind ourselves that our glass will always be half full. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    Reply
  2. KM Huber

    Absolutely beautiful and for me, particularly illustrative. In the subtropical climate where I live, sinkholes are common. If a lake is left after a sinkhole opens up, it is perhaps half full, maybe less but it still is. Thanks!
    Karen

    Reply
  3. harulawordsthatserve

    This is so powerful, the poem really brings me right there, I can hear the water lapping at the side of the kayak, I can see the angry young man’s face as it turns into a smile and I am humbled. I hope I can learn from this to do the same in such a situation, not just judge and walk on by, but find a way to offer someone a bridge back to feeling good about themselves by being able to help another…precious lesson, thank you. With much gratitude, Harula xxx

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Thank you | wordsthatserve

  5. Brendan Golub

    Your blog is spectacular. Thanks for sharing such great insight, quotes, words of wisdom, and your experience. I will be sure to check in often! – Brendan

    Reply
  6. TamrahJo

    I love the story of the farmer and the horse – was first introduced to it via the movie, “Charlie Wilson’s War” – added to the cadre of memories that I pull out to examine every time I get stressed over life – a great reminder to me of how our life experience is directly related to the stories we choose to tell ourselves…
    🙂

    Reply

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