A Mother Reaches Satori on the Tenth Anniversary of Her Son’s Drowning in Lake Michigan

A Mother Reaches Satori on the Tenth Anniversary of Her Son’s Drowning in Lake Michigan

Today the water is still.  This is what they call mirror-water, glass-water, quiet-face-of-the-sky-water.  If you could have waited ten years my son, my daring boy, the water off the break wall would have been this water:  calm, cradle-safe for even a baby, my baby, you, my rumble tumble boy.

But no, today you would have been twenty-eight, too old, too safe, too cautious to be my boy, my lost youth boy, my just man, just barely grown boy, my climbing see me jump Ma! see how high I am boy.

It was a colder October, a dark sky October, a wind lifting October when the lake rose, the great lake heaved and sighed, and the hum of its turning sounded like song to your ears.  The waves sung your name like love on the tongue, a song your soul was also singing, a song your ears heard as waves and wind breaking over the wall, and like the boy you were you ran out over the narrow line of stones.

Thrilled by the thrill of your daring, you thought you were just this: boy body bone muscle dancing feet and open arms.  And voice.  'Come! Come on!  Oh God, this is great! ' you called over the waves to your friends as your legs ran, your arms swung, your heart raced, and you laughed out loud in the joy of your daring, thinking this was you, thinking this boy body you carried out to the waves was all of you. 

You turned to run back to the shore, but even as you ran your soul was rising, your body dissolving, merging soul and being, and in that moment you saw your true self: body outside of body, the fluid world where wind, waves, rock and all that you thought you were merged into one pulse beating, one heart song, one whisper in the mouth of God: no end no begin no birth no drown.  Just you, just you tumbling in pure joy at the sound of your own name calling you home.


Published in Fresh Water: Women Writing on the Great Lakes, Michigan State University Press, 2006