It's Haibun/Haiku Monday at dVerse
and we're challenged to feature something
we fear. My haibun's a bit wordy. Forgive me!
Submitted April 17, 2017
My mother taught me so many valuable lessons. I am forever grateful. However, she taught me one lesson I could have lived without. She had a dreadful fear of water. Edgar Cayce, known as the Sleeping Prophet, believed that many of our fears and ills are karma from previous lives. In that case, I often wondered about my mother’s previous lives. Perhaps, I thought, she was a relative of Noah’s who fell from the ark and drowned in the great flood; or perhaps an Egyptian handmaiden who tumbled from Cleopatra’s barge and was swept away by the waters of the Nile. Perhaps she was an Indian maiden in Chief Tecumseh’s village who fell into what is now Reelfoot Lake, created by the New Madrid earthquake in 1811; or maybe she was a passenger on the Titanic..
These are only some of the things I considered that might have caused Mother’s fear of water. Whatever the cause, she managed to transfer that fear to me quite nicely. For the most part, it wasn’t a problem, because the only water near our farm was a meandering, gurgling little creek that one could wade across, except on occasion in the Spring rains when it became a raging torrent. There was a community pool in the town 13 miles from our farm, but of course that was never on Mother’s travel schedule. I remember a picnic with another family on the banks of a river somewhere in middle Illinois. The father of the other family had brought along an inner tube to allow his children to float on the river. My mother reluctantly allowed me to join in, but only after she warned me to hold tight, lest I be swept under the murky waters, carried away by the current and ultimately spit into the ocean at the mouth of the mighty Mississippi. I clung to that inner tube with a ferociousness that has since never been outdone.
Fate took me to Miami, Florida, in my 20’s, and of course that meant the beach and the ocean. I purchased my first bathing suit and tiptoed into the Atlantic at South Miami Beach. It was great fun … so long as my feet touched bottom. Friends tried to teach me to swim, but I could never manage to swim and turn my head to breathe at the same time, so I could only paddle as far as I could hold my breath. The long bridge over Tampa Bay is a lesson in courage for me, the mere thought of an ocean cruise gives me the vapors, even flying over water causes anxiety. I’ve tried very hard not to pass Mother’s fear to the next generation, and took my children for swimming lessons, managing to curb my fear when the instructor took them to the deep end of the pool. I’m very proud to say both can swim, and my grandchildren seem to have no fear of water. Hopefully, I have broken the tradition for the next generation….but deep water still scares me!
Spring is in the air
Flowering trees burst with bloom
Wonderful feast for the eyes