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Slowly, the women’s locker room door opens. Out limps a wizened senior, the drape of her swimming suit clinging to her thigh bearing a recent incision. She studies each step as she leans upon her helper’s forearm and inches her way toward the pool.

“Oh! She’s back!” says another, with white cornrows patterning her head like crop circles. She begins to wave. “Carolyn! Carolyn! We’re here! Over here!” Others, already in the pool, wiggle off the noodles supporting them in the water and head toward the steps. As they splash, eyes glisten with joy; gaiety implodes their spirits.

It is Tuesday morning at the Clayton Center in St. Louis, Missouri, and time for their water aerobics class. Only one other group ripples the surface of the pool at the deep end.

Carolyn looks up, a grin parting her creased lips, her shoulders shrugging off the tension. She stops, draws a deep breath. These are her old friends, the Noddlers—Their storied lives sealed by years of such Tuesdays, always followed by lunch at Subway’s.

Such groups like the Noddlers evidence the multifaceted mystery of life. Despite the crimping of physical pain and other diminishments, their spirits thrive within the so-called amniotic fluids of the heated swimming pool. Like the unborn, they are becoming the beautiful women God intended. Such happens within each Tuesday’s splashing around.

We learn from them.

 

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Plink, plink—plink, plink, plink—pink-plink—plink—plink …

Following a November gusher, droplets from the gutter pool pin oak leaves within interconnecting light-circles, splayed upon earth-toned pavers. Variegated browns—cordovan, burnt umber, russet, tan, sepia, beaver—quicken our senses to this drama, its ordinariness melding into the extraordinary.

It’s about the circles, many enclosed within larger ones outlined in dark chocolate, ephemeral and translucent. Within our watery depths a corresponding shimmering occurs. It’s like glancing into a parallel universe and relishing its treasure. We feel whole despite the paradox of the leaves’ decomposition within such raw beauty.

Such glimpses of our Creator’s imprints afford a critical wetness in this time of killing drought.

We just have to pause and look for them. They are all around us.

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It is summer.

Dawn.

Penetrating rains have spent themselves like satiated lovers.

Mists shroud the drenched earth.

Thin clouds pattern the wan sun with intricate tracings.

A quickening spirits new growth.

A tree sparrow churns up a mud puddle.

Dragonflies hover over new wetness in formal gardens.

Freshly plowed fields husband trenches of moisture.

Limestone recesses in creek bottoms pool clear waters.

Water-traces pockmark asphalt roofs of tenement buildings.

Footprints around construction sites glisten with moisture.

A toddler’s ”lion” boots stomp through strings of water pockets in the playground.

The washed earth breathes anew and we with it.

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