Thursday, February 23, 2006

Testing the Waters

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Tiki loves you, and so do we!

It's a rare entry where we navel-gaze here. Who wants to read about surly goats? Whoa, dull.

But Saturday is "Testing the Waters" day, and it's got me in a navel kinda mood.

For about ten years I had a recurring dream. It was never quite the same twice. I would either be driving sort-of-familiar country roads in search of a spring, or hiking through the woods in search of a spring, or dangling my feet in a spring. Sometimes I even dreamed about those hot springs out West. Never saw those in my life, except on t.v.

At least once a week I'd dream about looking for a spring. (Not the season, the place where water leaks out of the ground.)

It got so that I'd tell my sweet husband, "I had another one of those spring dreams last night."

Now we're going back a year and a half, August 2004. My dad had become increasingly enfeebled by Parkinson's Disease, and he fell and broke his hip. My sis lived close by to him, but she'd planned a vacation out West (no kids and plenty of money). So I went home to clean out Dad's apartment and hold his hand through the first tough week.

It was an ordeal. The sun rose and set on my dad, there was no one I held in higher esteem, and I loved him like my husband and kids. You would have too, if you'd known him. No one disliked my dad.

They stuck him on the Alzheimer's floor in the nursing home because of his Parkinson's, so just getting to his room was heart-wrenching. And there he lay, all helpless, and he looked up at me and the first thing he said was, "I won't be able to fix you any dinner tonight."

I said, "That's okay, I'll get us some Big Macs. And Superior Dairy ice cream."

And using that as an excuse, I went away and cried my eyeballs out.

When I came back later with the McDonalds (yuck) and the Superior Dairy ice cream (#1 in the universe, sorry if you can't get it), they had strapped Dad in a geri-chair.

He smiled at me and said: "Guess who I saw, standing in the doorway?"

I said, "Who?"

And he said, "Peter Pan. And he had his hands on his hips, just like in the movies."

I'd been leaning toward the faerie faith for a year or so, but I hadn't told Dad or quit the good ol' mainstream Methodist Church. So his saying that was just amazing to me. Here was a guy who taught Sunday School for fifty years, but who never felt comfortable with the Bible. And out of the blue, his true ancestral Pantheon comes calling for him.

Puck says: "He was a druid and he never knew id."

Nice rhyme, Puck.

I sat with Dad that day until he fell asleep. Then I got in my car and drove to Berkeley Springs, WV.

You know how it is when you grow up close to a place, but you never go there because it's close by but it's nothing special, why bother unless your basketball team has a game against theirs. I had grown up near Berkeley Springs without ever spending any time there.

That day I drove straight there and parked on Main Street. I got out and went into the Roman Bath House and asked what it was all about. The nice lady said you pay $20 and you get 750 gallons of heated mineral water in a giant tub big enough for six people.

I slapped a Jackson on her and ordered up one tub.

Thirty minutes later I was a new person. One soak and I never looked back. You could say the faeries came for my dad and me on the same day.

I went outside and sat down where the water comes out of the ground (at a consistent temperature of 74.3 degrees, or about 20 degrees higher than regular spring water).

Feels like I've been sitting there ever since. It's where I belong.

Of course, you start spending time at a place you get to know people. And that's how I met the awesome faerie/psychic/astrologer community in Berkeley Springs. It's a great fit. Such wonderful folks.

So they find out about my goat-judging, and darned if they don't invite me and my husband to be judges at the annual Best Water in the World contest.

This weekend I learn a new trade: water judging.

This is not fiction, gentle readers. They are going to have a water-tasting contest, with entries from all over the world in three categories:

1. Municipal water
2. Bottled spring water
3. Sparkling spring water

And it's no small potatoes, either. The winning waters usually put big golden seals on their bottles saying "Berkeley Springs Champion." Big-time bragging rights.

By Monday I'll be able to tell you which bottle of spring water is the best in the world. I guess we'll all be disappointed if it comes from Bosnia, eh?

For those of you just joining us here at "The Gods Are Bored," my awesome dad went off with Peter Pan in January of 2005. The day before his funeral last February, my daughter The Spare went wading in Berkeley Springs. Doesn't matter how cold it is, that water is always the same temperature, you can wade while it's snowing.

So that's why I'm the Merlin of Berkeley Springs. It's always good to test the waters, to explore a spiritual path that feels right, instead of driving the freeway with all the other cars.

You know what? I never dream about springs anymore. Ever.



buddy don said...

this heres sum mitey fine ritin, ma'am. whut a way to putt it a'usin that simple metafor. verr impressive.

on a simlar topick, i writ a chaptur that ye mite find innerestin, lease the meister eckhardt part of it: chaptur 86: the scariest thang in the universe.

Athana said...

What magic! I think you've tapped into the magic, Anne. Thanks for sharing this. So sorry about your dad. Sounds like he was good to you right up to the end -- bringing you Peter Pan and your spring water.

Autumn said...

What a wonderful post. The springs sound wonderful. I know you must think of your dad often. I lost mine in Dec.2004 and not a day goes by that he isn't on my mind.
The water judging contest sounds like fun. I will look forward to seeing which brand wins.