I swam in the lake as the first autumn rains came. What's the temperature?" passersby asked, grimacing with pain on my behalf from under their umbrellas. I can never answer the question, since I don't look at the thermometer, which to me is a fearmonger. It paints a mental picture of what x degrees feels like, when in fact there are many variables that contribute to how it will feel. The question makes me temporarily conscious of the cold but then the captivating scene distracts me.
The meeting of rain drops with the surface of the water is an extraordinary sight. To be there with a flock of sea birds as the sky strikes the sea is mind expanding. One becomes witness to the fact that nothing is separate. By overcoming fear and preconceptions, we can see the interfaces.
My husband likes to listen to the first autumn rains in a wicker chair on the covered terrace overlooking the lake. The lanterns flicker and he looks up from his reading to admire the last of the sailboats. I don't want to disturb this beautiful ritual, but cannot resist asking what he's reading. Its one of his diaries written decades years ago when he was a much younger man. "What do you learn from it?" I asked. "Wish I hadn't been so worried about things," he replied, referring to the way that fear of not succeeding, among other fears, gets in the way of living.
I think about his reflection as I swim towards the jagged cliffs where in the summer people sunbathe on the rock terraces. They're empty now; just bare edges. The lake, the raindrops, the cliffs and I are the world in a microcosm. Just think of what we could see if we weren't perpetually obsessed with the precipice?
Waves from a distant freighter on its way out to sea roll across the lake towards me. The birds lift off as the swells head our way, but I cannot fly and must encounter the waves. My face is wet and I've gulped a bit of water, but otherwise all's well. The freighter has become a mirage and the raindrops fall like a reminder of peace.