Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Water Park Complexity

Yesterday, I'd scheduled a shift in my usual work week to take the boys to Splashdown Water Park for the annual end-of-swim-season festival. It's a good time for all, as my lads join hundreds of other kids in shrieking down waterslides or drifting in an endless circuit around an artificial river.

As it so happened, I wouldn't have been able to do my usual Tuesday church office hours anyway. The intense storms that hammered DC on Sunday afternoon left much of Montgomery County without power for days and days, and my church office was dark and devoid of the go-juice that makes phone calls and emails and web site updates possible.

I partook of the waterpark goodness for a little bit, drifting around the faux river and sploshing down the slides. Then I went to take a few moments to be centered, focusing myself in a shaded area. Or, rather, unfocusing. During meditation, I often simply resist the desire to see one thing, and try instead to see the whole thing. In front of me was a river full of shouting kids and teens, floating by and squealing. To my left, towers that lead to slides drew a stream of kids. To my right, park attendees lined up for overpriced and underwhelming food.

It was a highly complex scene, dynamic and loud and whirling with energy, like leaves stirred riot by a storm.

I let it wash over me for a while, and then looked down. There was a small patch of grass. I looked at a single blade. It wasn't moving. It was a bit small, a bit wan, having been trod upon by what must have been an endless succession of kidlings.

But as the sun rested upon that blade, I know that within it there is a churn of complexity, as solar energy stirs a vibrant, messy process of photosynthesis within. I know that minerals and water are flowing up into the blade with the same wild rushing abandon of the river of splashing, screaming, laughing human beings that flow before me in an endless circuit.

It's just easier for our eyes and ears and minds to miss if we're not paying attention.

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