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H2O Man

(74,027 posts)
Mon Aug 26, 2013, 03:12 PM Aug 2013

Shaved Fish

[1] Dusk

"Is that the falls?" my cousin asked, after bringing in the last of the rocks.

I had gathered 58 cobbles of white flint, and he had brought a load of white oak, for the day's ceremony. Usually, I build the platform for the rocks, and start the fire; my cousin is the door-keeper, and carries the rocks into the lodge. But today is an unusual day: he did the fire, while I showed an "under 30" apprentice some new things.

There are many people in the communities surrounding us who are suffering. A 15-year old girl had an argument with her mother, about the girl's new boyfriend. The girl decided to run away that night. Around 1 am, she was driving the boyfriend's car, and hit a family on their way home from an area Drive In. Both drivers were killed; four passengers are hospitalized. The boyfriend was thrown, and uninjured, from his car seconds before it exploded into flames.

People are hurt and angry. Many are blaming the mother of the girl. I think it is 15-year olds' jobs to do really stupid things; it is tragic when it costs lives. I have known the mother casually for over 30 years, and she does the best she is able. She works three part-time jobs, and has no type of insurance. She told me that she can't afford a funeral, then adds that there is only part of her daughter's skull left from the exploding car.

I have a casual connection to the family that lost a husband and father. They were a close-knit family, returning home after a fun night. Everything has changed for the rest of their lives, for those who survive.

These families live in two different towns; I live outside a third, that lies between them.

[2] Darkness

We entered the lodge to do the first round in the early evening. Other than the glow from the red-hot rocks, it is completely dark inside. The rocks make a crackling noise. We can smell the sage that the apprentice sprinkles on them. Then the sound of the water being poured on the rocks, and turning instantly to a very hot steam.

Outside, as the sun goes down, the song birds enjoy their last meal of the day. They have the prettiest songs. We can also hear the trout in the pond. I'm glad that my sons built this lodge near the pond, and that my daughters have created a system of bird-feeders here.

By the end of the third round, it is getting dark outside. My cousin brings in the stones for the last round. He comments on how quiet and still it is outside, as he brings some in. Finally, he is done, and closes the door flaps before finding his place to sit. It is then that he asks if that is the falls he hears? It is. But they are a quarter-mile away? They are, but sounds carry at night.

Chief Waterman used to tell me to listen closely to the voice of the creek. When Euro-Americans came here, the area was known by an Onondaga phrase that translates to: "the voice of the water sings."

[3] Dusk

Early the next morning, I go back out to the pond. Five weeks earlier, I had brought a painted turtle that I "rescued" from the highway out to the pond. She has remained there. When I bring out food for the fish, she comes over to the pond's edge, to eat her fill, too.

Turtles tend to look awkward and uncoordinated on land. She looks awkward and uncoordinated in the water, as well. I can relate to that.

After filling the bird-feeders, I sit quietly beside the pond for a few hours. Then it's time to leave the real world, and head back into civilization.

30 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Shaved Fish (Original Post) H2O Man Aug 2013 OP
"civilization" bigtree Aug 2013 #1
Right. H2O Man Aug 2013 #14
Guess I was looking here to see a potential John Lennon reference... cascadiance Aug 2013 #2
Thats what came to my mind too. DiverDave Aug 2013 #10
Fair enough. H2O Man Aug 2013 #15
Nice bit of writing, sir. byronius Aug 2013 #3
Thanks. H2O Man Aug 2013 #16
Lovely words and pictures. brer cat Aug 2013 #4
Thank you. H2O Man Aug 2013 #20
What a wonderful post. I so enjoyed reading it. cali Aug 2013 #5
Well, thanks! H2O Man Aug 2013 #21
Beautiful. bvar22 Aug 2013 #6
I forgot to add H2O Man Aug 2013 #22
It was so pleasant to be in your world for a few moments. Autumn Aug 2013 #7
I agree 100%. H2O Man Aug 2013 #23
We had a fine sweat lodge panader0 Aug 2013 #8
Very good! H2O Man Aug 2013 #24
Beautiful writing - thank you for sharing... (nt) petronius Aug 2013 #9
Lovely writing. Thank you for letting me share that experience for awhile. Hekate Aug 2013 #11
It is: H2O Man Aug 2013 #18
"Then it's time to leave the real world," zeemike Aug 2013 #12
Thanks! H2O Man Aug 2013 #25
K & R HangOnKids Aug 2013 #13
Thank you. H2O Man Aug 2013 #26
Thanks for another good story. Zorra Aug 2013 #17
Thanks. H2O Man Aug 2013 #27
Now I can add envy to the feelings I've experienced today hootinholler Aug 2013 #19
One of these H2O Man Aug 2013 #28
I enjoyed reading that. Thank you. DisgustipatedinCA Aug 2013 #29
Thank you. H2O Man Aug 2013 #30


(86,334 posts)
1. "civilization"
Mon Aug 26, 2013, 03:33 PM
Aug 2013

. . .a much different kind of chaos than in nature. Nature responds so well when we involve ourselves in its preservation. It almost always faithfully reflects the best of our efforts. Not so much with humanity.

H2O Man

(74,027 posts)
14. Right.
Mon Aug 26, 2013, 07:09 PM
Aug 2013

Sometimes I find it harder and harder to venture out into civilization, and easier and easier to spend more time at my pond.

H2O Man

(74,027 posts)
15. Fair enough.
Mon Aug 26, 2013, 07:19 PM
Aug 2013

I think that there are some. But they aren't as overt, for example, as noting the connection between some of the Koi inhabiting the pond, and Yoko Ono. (This is true.)

"No one I think is in my tree,
I mean it must be high or low.
That is you can't you know
tune in, but it's alright
that is I think it's not too bad."
-- Dr. Winston O'Boogie

The OP was just something personal that I decided to post here, because I hadn't posted in a bit, and I thought it might be of interest to some people. I can't explain the connection -- not because it's secret, or that I want people to turn off the turn-tables of their minds and float downstream while reading the OP backwards. It's just something in my mind, that I'm obviously not good at verbalizing.

That's an outstanding LP, though too often overlooked.


(7,432 posts)
3. Nice bit of writing, sir.
Mon Aug 26, 2013, 05:02 PM
Aug 2013

I was thinking about you the other day after reading an article about the Texas fracking disasters.

H2O Man

(74,027 posts)
16. Thanks.
Mon Aug 26, 2013, 07:21 PM
Aug 2013

I'm typing up the "final draft" of my book on industrial pollution-disease-fracking, to send to the agent. He's getting impatient .....needs to find a quiet spot and relax more.

H2O Man

(74,027 posts)
20. Thank you.
Tue Aug 27, 2013, 04:40 PM
Aug 2013

The only place that I could have been accused of being coordinated was in the boxing ring.

H2O Man

(74,027 posts)
22. I forgot to add
Tue Aug 27, 2013, 04:46 PM
Aug 2013

that later in the day, my daughters and I went to the waterfalls. My older daughter was preparing to head back to college -- which means I don't have to give 24-hour notice that I need to use my vehicle! (grin) Anyhow, walking along the creek's bed, I found an old mill stone, almost totally buried beneath other stones.

My daughters think that my "love affair" with rocks is a giggle. Still, they recognized that it was a good find. A friend (who was also a 5th grade teacher and then supervisor at the mental health clinic) has a far better background in mill stones than me. I knew it was for grain; he showed me why it's safe/accurate to date it around 1804.


(45,167 posts)
7. It was so pleasant to be in your world for a few moments.
Mon Aug 26, 2013, 05:55 PM
Aug 2013

It would be wonderful for everyone to find a place like that with everything that is going on in the world today. Just reading about it lifts the soul, doing it must be quite a rejuvenation, Thank you.

H2O Man

(74,027 posts)
23. I agree 100%.
Tue Aug 27, 2013, 04:51 PM
Aug 2013

People need to find that quiet spot. It's something I've done since childhood, to get away from much of the madness. As an adult, I've had a few such places .....one of my favorites was a medium-sized cave, inside which I found numerous Indian artifacts. Now that I'm old, I find it harder to leave the peace that defines the pond.


(25,816 posts)
8. We had a fine sweat lodge
Mon Aug 26, 2013, 05:58 PM
Aug 2013

Started with a bamboo fence shaped into a circle (more kidney shaped). That was covered with chicken wire, then stuccoed.
There was a small triangular window in the ceiling, interior wall were bamboo and floor was wood, except the stone pit.
We'd heat the rocks in a large mesquite fire and then move them inside. There was a pool nearby to jump in afterwards.
Intense barely describes it.

H2O Man

(74,027 posts)
24. Very good!
Tue Aug 27, 2013, 04:53 PM
Aug 2013

We've got the pond right there, the falls are pretty close, and my wife has a swimming pool. I prefer the falls, though it is getting more difficult to walk that distance sometimes.


(91,747 posts)
11. Lovely writing. Thank you for letting me share that experience for awhile.
Mon Aug 26, 2013, 06:15 PM
Aug 2013

What is "the voice of the water sings" in Onandaga?


(18,998 posts)
12. "Then it's time to leave the real world,"
Mon Aug 26, 2013, 06:29 PM
Aug 2013

And head back to civilization....man is that ever the truth.

But like animals that have spent their whole life in a cage they are scared when the door is open and they and they can go out.

Well said...

H2O Man

(74,027 posts)
25. Thanks!
Tue Aug 27, 2013, 04:59 PM
Aug 2013

Earlier this afternoon, one of my closest friends stopped by. We've been buddies since we were 3 years old! We had an interesting discussion about our mutual retreat from "civilization." And the difficulties that today's youth face. He was saying things that were similar to your description of caged animals.


(27,670 posts)
17. Thanks for another good story.
Mon Aug 26, 2013, 09:32 PM
Aug 2013

I love water.

My home here in the Southwest is on a creek, and there is a deep swimming hole below some loud rapids right below my house, and ruins of Sinagua cliff dwellings above the swimming hole. I believe people have been using the swimming hole for relief for a long time.

I'm thinking of building a sweat lodge by the swimming hole, right below the rapids. Your story made me think that it would be good to sweat to the sound of water.

H2O Man

(74,027 posts)
27. Thanks.
Tue Aug 27, 2013, 05:06 PM
Aug 2013

That sounds like a perfect place to build and use one. (It might not be the first one that's been there.) I think the sound of running water adds to the experience.

Not far behind my lodge is a very large boulder, and a wonderful spring runs out from under it. And it is near the edge of a swamp. We get to see all types of wildlife here. I think it's an area where people have been for a long, long time.


(26,449 posts)
19. Now I can add envy to the feelings I've experienced today
Tue Aug 27, 2013, 04:29 PM
Aug 2013

I think we all need more time in the real world.

H2O Man

(74,027 posts)
28. One of these
Tue Aug 27, 2013, 05:07 PM
Aug 2013

days, I believe that you will visit, hang out near the pond, etc. I look forward to that!

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