The city had been disgusting with the heat – waves of it coming up like an open oven from the pavement at intersections, the apartment sticky and muggy and confining and gross.
The only thing I could think about was getting up north, getting into some water and swimming.
Swimming swimming swimming in the coolness of a lake.
Packing a few things into a bag, I came across this little pamphlet kind of thing that’s been kicking around for a while – it’s written by my mom, but I’m not sure when I got it or why, and when exactly it emerged from the archives and started floating around my reading pile, but there it was blinking up at me, and since all I could think about was swimming, I threw it in.
underwater experience
My mom used to be a prof, so she would do things like write books, and I remember one time when I was a kid asking her what the title of her book was, and she said, “Equivocal Predications”.
Oh. Ummm, right. Whatever.
So I wasn’t sure how far I’d get into this mysterious little pamphlet, but although it’s dense, it’s actually quite lovely, and I thought about the ideas in it as I went swimming each day in the cool deliciousness of a little bay.

In her opening, she says,

After positing that water has a body, a soul, and a voice, Gaston Bachelard argues in Water and Dreams, “Possibly more than any other element, water is the complete poetic reality”…

Floating, savouring, weightless and happy, chasing ducks and minnows, I remember what a passionate scuba diver my mom was – she couldn’t get enough of it and was always off on some trip to go diving.
She writes,

Until only recently, literature of the sea and its inherent poetry has been predicated on a superficial relationship between man and the sea: man on the edge of the sea or man on the surface of the sea. To go under, to go down in the sea, was to go the way of Plebase in “Death by Water,” losing the power of perception…


Now, with special equipment, men can experience the profundity of the sea: he can go down and still live to hear the poetic language of the deep of the sea. The action of going down is the gesture of knowing: the deep holds within it the secret of all that is unknown, the metaphorically profound, and the mystery of all that is “under” – including psychology’s unconscious and the mythic underworld.


Within the profound abyss, within the metaphor and experience of depth itself rests an expression, according to Merleau-Ponty, of divine Being – amazing us who might have expected and seen taught that God is transcendent and “above”: “Claudel,” he comments, “goes so far as to say that God is not above but beneath us – meaning that we do not find Him as a suprasensible idea, but as another ourself which dwells in and authenticates our darkness…


Weekly Photo Challenge – Beneath Your Feet
…with a special shout-out to my mom ❀

30 thoughts on “Beneath”

  1. Pure poetry. Your mom’s writing woven in with yours and your images. Swimming swimming swimming. This is my summer medicine, too. Thank you for taking us with you.

  2. That all green shot is gorgeous!

    I’ve heard O’ Canada can be nasty in summer. I was there in winter, so i really can’t say. Enjoy it, though, while it lasts, my friend. I demand you return our sun!

    1. No no no, I am quite happy with the sun, thank you very much – as long as there is a lake to jump in, the heat is just fine.
      I like the all greens too – the more abstract the better…

  3. Really your mom words are so pleasure full that I felt for a few moments that I am swimming in a quite lake that has it’s own sounds and voices….to anybody the water will be water but seriously water can be a friend………especially in hot weather………here it is so so much hot that I really wanna jump into water and your this post gave me a cool feeling….

  4. This is such a touching post dedicated to your mum. Her words come across as very thoughtful too. Sometimes we find the most meaningful lessons and ourselves amidst the darkness. Lovely photos too – the water looks so clear and glassy. What a wonderful world it looks πŸ™‚

  5. How I love this post!
    Your words and photos, your mom’s words and Bachelard’s took me back to grad school…
    And to that place where all connects in poetic metaphors.
    L’Eau et les rΓͺves, L’Air et les songes certainly have taught me new ways of looking.
    And the master let me dream a world that touches the soul.
    Thank you Kat and Heather for sharing the treasures beneath.

  6. Water is such a mysterious element. Perhaps we unconsciously remember floating in fluid before we were born, or being aquatic animals before we dared explore land? Water is also the symbolic element for our feelings and emotions, so difficult to confine or contain in any particular shape. Lovely and intriguing water imagery here!

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