Our well is dry. The last of the water in our taps oozed an alarming thick orange matter. First glance, I suspected the filtering system wasn't working. We've been rationing water since the day in January I washed too many loads of laundry depleting the well. I never suspected this time water would not filter in from the ground table. It seemed incomprehensible that water was scarce. Fields, roads and our basement flooded in the spring. Our water often gets low in March and April but coping with a dry well is something we've never encountered. That day we purchased a plastic water tank the size of our service pickup truck box, and with some fittings, hose attachments and adjustments, off we sped to town to fill the new tank. It is a short-term fix that has our home on water rationing. There is a bright side - the water is reverse osmosis and the taps now run with clean, clear water. Summer and fall 2011 arrived with minimum rainfall so we should have seen this coming and prepared for it. But on the farm, after the crops are in the bins and the fields are bare, something ever and always needs repairing, servicing, or replacing. Winter can arrive suddenly on the prairies. And today I have renewed appreciation for the simple pleasure of turning a tap then running my hands under the warm, wonderful stream.
As I was thinking of the things that I inadvertently disregard, like switching on a light, the television and radio by remote, enjoying heat at the touch of a thermostat, it occurred to me that perhaps our well isn't the only thing sapped. My attitude was flat and my joy dehydrated. (I am prone to SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder.) I have found this often sneaks up on me wearing camouflage of busyness, stress, tediousness and distress. I call them joy pilfers. Like silent intruders, bit by bit they creep unnoticed into my life shadowing and embezzling joy. What oozes out instead is not pretty: annoyance, impatience, self-pity – everything that joy is NOT.
Weather permitting, I like to walk every night before suppertime. With camera in hand last night, I stood in somber wonderment at the diffusion of brilliant, incredible colour in the western sky. Falling to my knees, then flat on my belly in the soft snow, I wanted my camera to grasp the radiance. The white ground transformed into an inferno of shimmering amber and orange. When I stood - I marveled the pink and lavender hues hurled across the eastern horizon. And then I got it – thankfulness. I realized again the human spirit is beautifully resilient. In my parka, snow pants and big warm, clunky boots, I felt like I was on hallowed ground. Gratitude and joy, clear and clean welled up till I thought I would burst from all the blazing colors above, around and under me.
Gremlins banished, spirit replenished, I walked home under a radiant luminous canopy, snow still clinging to the knees of my snow pants. I thought of the two funerals Fred and I attended the past two weeks and I wondered the beauty, the sheer glory and view of this sunset - on heaven's side.
Winter with its meager ration of sunlight, darts in and out darkening the human spirit and I fight it, often camera in hand, on my knees. Though the well runs dry, it can also run over because I believe in the Artist of the seasons. Winter weary, not me. Everywhere I look – a sparkling white beach and I am excused from wearing a bathing suit, which would most certainly spoil everything.
Though the well runs dry, I know it will also run over because I believe in spring.