Monday night, a few things happened:
- New Moon
- Another International Space Station pass
- The Tau Herculids meteor shower
My stepdad and I watched the ISS pass together on the front lawn. It’s really something special to see — and beautiful, like a star floating through my human view of the cosmos.
For the Tau Herculids, I drove to Lake Erie with a blanket and sat by myself watching for any movement in the sky. I didn’t see any massive meteors like I did a couple of years ago during a rare cloudless Michigan Perseid show, but thanks to the New Moon, I was able to catch a few of them. Regardless of size, they never fail to leave me in awe and inspiration.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I got to witness another astronomical wonder in the form of a total lunar eclipse on a full moon night. I had driven out to Lake Erie just to be near the water for a while. I did a bit of ritual work and made some offerings — things maybe she has never seen before, or recently. A couple of stones from her sister, Lake Michigan, an assortment of herbs, and I meant to leave her a feather from my collection, but there were a lot of people there and not much wind. It was the most still I have ever seen Lake Erie, actually. Despite that stillness, she seemed moody to me. I didn’t mind at all. I vowed to bring the feather back another day.
Monday night, as I visited the same place hoping for a meteor sighting, the wind seemed to pick up significantly, and I released the promised feather along with a lot of love onto her slightly more turbulent waters.
Monday night to Tuesday morning as I slept, I dreamed I was free-diving deep underwater. I was following another being, although I can’t remember who or what — they were a vague but familiar shape, almost like a raindrop but not quite a whale. We were looking for something (I don’t know what… a treasure maybe?), and the tone was rather playful and joyful. But eventually, I began to feel the panic of having held in a breath for too long, and I remembered that exhaling can help relieve that feeling. In doing so, I accidentally inhaled a little immediately afterward & found that I could take in a bit of oxygen. I was too afraid to take a big breath and so I made my way to the surface where I woke up in my own bed. I would like to think that I was swimming with Erie herself!
I think about all that she has been through since we modern humans burst onto the scene. Of all the five sisters, Lake Erie has been the most exploited by industry. Attempts at her ruination have been so severe, she has inspired laws offering her personhood. As you follow the coastline where I live, you can witness for yourself the impacts of that exploitation. Her shores teeter back and forth between shabby apartments, luxury homes, and industry all in a few short miles. For me, it’s a very strange mixture to see. Each area provides a decidedly alien feeling from the next.
It happens way too frequently that we, as humans, impose ourselves on our environment without consideration of the ways we affect it, and then we seek to blame that place for the problem. We do it all the time when we refer to a place as a shithole, or a dump, or what-have-you. But it isn’t the fault of the land, is it?
Despite all that has built up and torn down all around her, and the pollutants she has been exposed to, Erie is lovely. She’s moody, a little sassy, and sometimes crass, but she’s got a heart of gold. We cannot blame her (or any other place) for something the folks with opposable thumbs & capitalism did.
We do the same thing to ourselves — trashing our bodies and blaming them for it. My own body, my own ecosystem, has been badly damaged by my own hand. It hasn’t (usually) been on purpose or consciously willful, but it has been done nevertheless. Bodies are designed for adaptation. They respond to internal, external, emotional, and physical stimuli — even etheric, spiritual stimuli — and they warp, shift, move, and change based on that stimuli. In studying for my foot reading certification, this was a concept I became hyper-aware of. Many of the changes in our bodies, regardless of the kind of stimuli present, show up in the form of markers on our feet before we are even aware of them. These are all pieces of the grand puzzle that makes up a person, and no two are exactly the same.
I have recently begun a regimen of intermittent fasting because I want a better relationship with my body, and when you challenge the brain, stuff comes up. I have been on an 18:6 schedule, today I moved to a 20:4 — that is to say, I fast for 20 hours a day, and I have a four hour window in which to eat. During that window, I try to consume healthy, nutrient rich foods. It’s really not difficult… until it is. Without fail, my brain starts making claims that I am starving or doing something horrible which is completely untrue. The level of hunger required to actually be starving is far beyond than anything I have ever done. Still, I try to pay close attention to the shit my head says to me, questioning the thoughts as they arrive. The thoughts that come are like little fish jumping for insects, disturbing an otherwise quiet pond, only seen for a moment before disappearing beneath the surface again — but now I know they’re there. As I get further into it (I am only on day 10), it’ll get easier, and will pave the way for some longer-term fasts. For now, I choose to lean into the discomfort of hunger, and the discomfort of change. This discomfort is necessary, it’s temporary, and it’s fine. It’s just discomfort.
Healing is like that. It’s full of things that are unpleasant to look at but necessary to get through. I am on a Lake Erie pathway. As she fights to regain herself, her health, her autonomy — I do the same for myself. I push into the deep of my psyche, and I find that I can, indeed, breathe under this water.