Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Getting hot, cooling off

Blogging has been light because I've had an unusually busy social calendar for the last week and a half, and I'm getting ready for my trip to Turkey. I leave one week from tomorrow!

Last night was one of those sultry summer evenings where it's still in the 80s at dusk. I remember those nights when I was a kid and it was too hot to sleep; my parents would let my sister and me get out of bed to swim. For several years, we lived in a modest house in a semi-urban neighborhood, and we had a pool in our backyard. Swimming at night meant getting to swim naked, the only lights shining from under the water. After 15 minutes in the pool, our bodies cooled, we would go back to bed and sleep all night.

Swimming naked, and swimming at night - floating on my back looking up at the moon and stars - are still just about my favorite things to do. I prefer lakes, ponds, and hot springs to artificial pools. (I’ve been skinny dipping after dark in the Baltic Sea; this is both cold and dangerous. Much more peaceful was floating on my back in the large hot spring at Orr, in California.)

(Indeed, hot springs are one of the few things my town lacks. That, and Ethiopian food. Okay, and a thriving independent bookstore. We’re not perfect.)

Last night it was hot, so Adonis, Lugh, and I set out for the gorge down the street, where the temperature is about 10 degrees cooler. We hiked in, not very far, and found a flat stretch where we could all walk around in the water. (It’s been dry this year, so the water is low; normally we wouldn’t be able to walk where we did.)

There was a lot of litter, which makes me so angry, but since dog walkers always have plastic grocery bags in their pockets, I was able to clean up the space we were in. In addition to the beer and juice bottles and cigarette wrappers, there was a pair of socks, some Styrofoam peanuts, a bag of empty take-out containers, and a dirty diaper. This isn’t the first time I’ve found a wrapped, dirty diaper in a gorge! People make such a misanthrope of me. I don’t understand how anyone can go to such a beautiful place and leave trash there. It breaks my Pagan heart.

I once knew of some Quakers who would carry a bag and pick up litter wherever they went. When someone would ask them why, they would say, “we’re Quakers; we pick up litter.” I think that’s a mantra that can express our most basic Pagan values. I say it to myself to counter my angry reaction: “we’re Pagans; we pick up litter.”


Livia said...

Swimming at night in the dark, except for the full moon, is one of the most magical and pleasurable experiences I've ever had. Thanks so much for reminding me of that.

Athene said...

Thanks for reminding me about naked swimming in pools at night - a nice memory. It's been far too long. Have a wild adventure to Turkey! I finally responded to your comment on my blog...

Litter is my biggest pet peeve, and the thing that also causes me to experience moments of wanting to give up on the human race.

cathy said...

I love swimming at night. It's one of the best memories I have from camping as a child. I can't wait to do that when I go away next month.

Inanna said...

Who knew this post would bring the (naked) nightswimmers out of the closet? How lovely!

Mo said...

Another nakkid nite swimmer, here, altho I wanted to vent about all the litterbugs!!

The Mr. & I walk our dogs at the island at the end of our street...we *always* have a bag full of trash to deposit IN THE CAN AT THE ENTERANCE OF THE ISLAND. *That* makes me nuts!! There's a conveniently placed trashcan that anyone leaving the island must pass by - why oh WHY can't people just clean up after themselves?? Especially when its made so very easy to do so?! URGH!!!

End of rant.

Hecate said...

We're Pagans. We care for Mother Earth. Safe trip.

Willow Myrina said...

I'm only young, but it's people like you who make me think "Yes, a true pagan". I chase litterdroppers if i see them and do my best to pick up any I see flying around.

In Love And Light,

Scrivener said...

Have a great trip!

Fey said...

"We're Pagans. We pick up litter."

Simple! and True!

Love it. :)

Sia Vogel said...

I hope you have a wonderful time in Turkey. We loved it.

Ephesus was magical. Even better than Pompeii or the Acropolis. I hope you get to see it.

Whenever go you go to an ancient site, take some crunchy pet food along for the temple cats and dogs :-) You will always find some there, and to my mind, it is the best sort of offering.