7:30 BELLS: Clarity from Muddy Waters

A twenty degree morning. Frost lays like snow on the grass. Across the yard, the sun illuminates the trees on the far side of the river. In another hour, the river is a path of light flowing through the dark, winter wood.

The path doesn’t show crystal blue waters that let me see straight to the bottom. The Nisqually River, sprung from glaciers on Mount Rainer, runs high and muddy from recent rain. So the path of light is brown—softened by foaming epaulets of white lace.

But I need light cast on my muddy waters. The sun is telling me, “Look here. Look deep”. So much churns in the brown river—leaves, branches, dirt, old roots, and old bones. Things need to be seen and sorted. Some saved, some tossed, others made into something new.

“Mudlarks” once waded through the tidal Thames River in London—people looking for treasures. Treasures they could turn into coins, which they turned into bread. Sometimes they found dead bodies and bones. They always found filth.

That’s one risk of looking into our own muddy waters. Seeing our own filth that we’d rather ignore. The hope is that in the muddy, swirling depths we will find treasure that provides sustenance of whatever kind we need. 

All artists know that light is born from the mud. We search the muddy waters of our dreams, unconscious, imaginations. This is true not only for artists, but for everyone who wants to understand more about themselves and their world. For everyone who wants clarity.

The first step is simple: look for sun shining on a muddy river, ringing a way forward through the dark, winter wood.

7:30 BELLS Posts run every Tuesday.

7:30 BELLS Guest Posts run on the second Tuesdays of every month. Join me on December 8 for a guest post with children's book author, Suzanne Williams.