The world looks small from beneath my umbrella. It sounds small too. I can hear the fine drops of rain spatting onto the stretched canvas just above my head. I can see a few meters all around me. The greater world is there, always, but in this moment while I’m standing on the end of the floating dock jutting out into our lake, the world is small, intimate, within reach.
My scruffy shoes are level with the waterline. The dock is an old timber one and whatever sort of floatation there is to keep it afloat seems just as old. Water sloshes up between the slats and the windblown wavelets splat on top of them.
I can understand the fascination with ‘watery depths’ stories and monsters that might lurk beneath. (Jaws or The Posideon Adventure anyone?) It’s an element that we humans, with our overblown sense of entitlement, can’t control … (oh, we can pollute it, build dams to contain it, we can freeze it, boil it, consume it in a gazillion ways, but ultimately it’ll always have the last laugh) … and what we can’t control, we both fear and are fascinated with.
I grew up with the Pacific Ocean in my back pocket. Land locked lakes are an unknown to me, and although I’m respectful of the brown-green watery depths right at the end of my toes, I’m also tempted to take one more step forward, just to see what happens.
Common sense tells me I’ll get wet, and probably lose my beautiful umbrella, (a present from Mrs Widds) but my uncommon sense asks, ‘what if’. What if it’s just another boundary between the worlds? What might be on the other side?
A wind sweeps the rain across the lake in shimmering veils, momentarily revealing the hills on the other side of the lake. I tilt my umbrella back and let the rain fall in my face. My world expands to include the whole lake. The hills and mountains beyond are all wrapped up in mist and summery, albeit damp, shades of green. The mist blows back in again and I feel like I’ve walked into Marion Zimmer Bradley’s, The Mists of Avalon.
Maybe I took that step after all.
“I am not feeling any better because I cannot stay in bed, having constant cause for walking. They say I leave at night by the window of my tower, hanging from a red umbrella with which I set fire to the forest” – Camille Claudel, French sculptor, 1864-1943
The ultimate ‘Under my umbrella’ song.