The Wait of Water
I have been struggling, sometimes in a fighting mad way, with a limited, totally Nature dependent water supply: a 22-foot deep dug well lined with rocks. It was hand made about 90 years ago in what seemed to be the low point of a small saltwater peninsula that's granite ledge. Oldtimers swear the basin never went dry, but thanks to a merciless run of summers without rain, I've had to order water five years in a row.
That scared me the first few years to the point of obsessive stinginess. I took Navy showers (i.e. turning the water off until you need it to rinse), brushed my teeth with bottled water and collected kitchen sink runoff from rinsing utensils to use with detergent for pot washing. Despite disgust, I stopped flushing toilets until necessary and harped on any guest who ran water longer than two seconds. Fear can militarize you.
Of course as the Dharma says, with fear comes hope, so of course I was hoping all my scrimping saved water for...well certainly not a rainy day. Three years in a row, I got totally upended by discovering my sacrifice made not one gallon of difference to my water supply. What I didn't use when I could have simply leached back through the rocks it flowed in through, vacating my well for the ever more parched ground around it.
Unless we humans or beavers get into its act, water doesn't want to stand still. Water is the ultimate bodhisattva always rushing out or onward to where it's needed. The truth really is: use it or lose it. It's pure Carpe Diem in action. NOW really is the time. Tomorrow may never come, remember? It's not just a guy line. The water could leach out of the well tomorrow the way it leached in yesterday. Like the plumber said, shaking his head at the hand dug well meant to attract rainwater in although its very porousness lets rainwater out, "easy come, easy go."
Using water has been a major behavior adjustment. I've had to give up hanging on when I have a supply thinking it will see me through the weeks to come. I've had to mount the courage to use what's available when it's available without worrying about tomorrow. Today I washed two loads of sheets. As I was scrubbing the kitchen sink with the faucet running, I realized something as simple as water had taught me how to live in the most crucial Dharma way: right now. Well, well.
~Sandy Garson "Wordsmithing to attest how the Dharma saved me from myself!"
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