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The Water Cycle


Every day, beneath the tenderness of new sunlight and the quiet sorrow of fading stars, a woman went down to the pool. It lay between her house and the unkempt meadows, and when she sat there she could look to the candlelight blossoming in window after window as the household slowly woke, or she could look to the shadows of animals creeping through the meadow mist. Sometimes she looked for a little while. Other times she lay her face in her hands - because she came to the pool for weeping.

Every day, weeping, as the sun rose and dreams slipped away.

Once it had been that she wept for a reason, but now it was simply what she did come morning. She spilled her heart into the silent bright water. And then she returned home feeling refreshed.

But that was a melancholy household, where sighs wove a shroud around words. And so the woman found no reason not to go down to the pool every morning for weeping. And every morning afterwards she sat in the kitchen with softening eyes and sighs, and she drank water with her porridge. The household drank water - pool water, carried up to the house by servants, stained with her habitual tears and her empty sorrows.

And then it happened that the woman came to be with child. Thereafter, when she went to the pool in the morning, she wept no more but whispered small dreams that soon ravelled long and lovingly into songs. And she began visiting the pool later and later, for the sake of protecting her child from dawn's chill. So it was that, sitting there, she smelled the bread scent, heard the voices, coming from open windows of the household. She listened to birds and crickets sing in the meadow grasses. Her joyful breath stirred the pool water and made its scintillations rise up like wishes on the sunlit air.

At first she sang for gladness of her child. But soon she sang for the singing itself. And then she returned home feeling refreshed.

And song seemed to dance through the household's words, and they drank the waters of joy. The woman found no reason for weeping any more.

illustration by Robert Anning Bell

You see, I am somewhat adrift lately, and story has always been my certain ground, so here I stand a while. I know you don't like it, but you can always visit me at instagram for something different. The question of give and take with blogging has been on my heart a lot lately, and I've decided to go let it go and just do what I want for the moment. And yes I know this is an awful story, but I'm simply letting myself write, just as I let wildflowers grow in my garden, to nourish the ground for better things.


  1. Oh, I like it very much! The nice thing about being adrift (as opposed to being grounded) is that you go somewhere.

    What a beautiful story. I must tell you that it restored my spirits after witnessing something demeaning this afternoon. We visited a toy store (I haven't been to one in a while), and were amazed at the selection of Barbie dolls; there were two long aisles of them: veterinarian Barbie, baker Barbie, teacher Barbie, gymnastics instructor Barbie, dog and horse trainer Barbie, animal rescue Barbie, construction worker Barbie, pilot Barbie, smoothie chef Barbie, doctor Barbie, ballerina Barbie, and so many more, but glaringly missing from the line-up was mommy Barbie--there were none at all. My daughters and I found the absence of a mommy Barbie shockingly sexist--a denial of the very biology of women and anti-feminist. Apparently being a mother is no longer an appropriate aspiration for little girls at all.

    So, your story came at the perfect time for me. It was just the one I needed this evening.

    Thank you.♥

    1. It is so incredibly sad how motherhood is not only no longer celebrated in our culture but derided as a background thing you do while getting on with the real work of your life. I'm all for women having careers, but also for women being full time mothers if they choose. Girls dreaming of motherhood. I've watched some young women go from secretly dreaming this to believing they can't have it and they must choose something real and important to do with their lives. And this is in families which support real choice! Such is the power of the media and the culture. Heartbreaking.

  2. I think it's a lovely little story.

  3. I loved this story. Your words always calms something in me. And thank you for doing what you want. It gives freedom for others to do what they want, too. I've been feeling a bit adrift too, unsure of myself...of my place in everything. Not sure what to trust in. But I'm away from home for a few days now, and maybe a new scenery will clear my head.

  4. I envisioned and felt it deeply as I read. Poignant and beautiful.
    I like Sue's comment, it's so true.

  5. I LOVE this story! (Please don't be so hard on yourself.)

    1. Thank you all for your kind words. I would answer individually but am on my phone and typing here is difficult :-)

  6. i like what you are doing here lately... my ears are always open for another story, and they refresh and re-orient me. my own heart was confused and wearied by the day's events today, and reading this gave me a different perspective on my own feelings. for which i thank you.


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