the dam at otter creek

April 9, 2006

When all that’s left to do

is reflect on what’s been done

this where sadness breathes

the sadness of everyone.

– Live

Everything that I am is inside and it never flows out of me. My body is my personal dam, blocking up everything that is in my mind. All my thoughts, emotions, depression, pain, worry, disgust. Any attempt I make to search for a hole that will allow the dam to burst, gets plugged up quickly by the busy beaver living inside of me. The closer I get to deconstructing this dam, looking at what makes it up and why it’s so strong, the more stuff gets piled on for me to decipher. The dam is a complicated construction, adding more silt to an already muddy water behind its banks.

The dam keeps me out of touch of all the pure water- so close, yet so far. The beaver fends away all the fish and animals wishing to break through the dam to get at the water behind it, pushing them away with rudeness and weakness. It doesn’t want to allow others into the protective waters again.

Not like last time.

The pains of the past should stay in the past, not to be resurrected and reappear in a different form. The last time the dam was breached from the outside, it was devestating and destroyed everything the beaver had a hand in constructing. The dam was built again, quickly, reinforced to help clean up the mess left behind in the pool of water.

The water was never cleaned in the time since. It remains full of life, hiding in the shadows and under the logs that now pollute its water. There is a darkness in the water now, ruling over all that lies beneath it. Sunlight hits its waters only to reflect away; never to penetrate it. The goodness at the bottom of this pool becomes more and more lost as time passes. The beaver is more content to keep repairing the dam then to spend the time searching through the muck to find that lost goodness.

It’s too damaging to search for it; too convenient to remain outside of that pool and make a mockery of it by destroying it further by protecting it. Is the beaver aware of the destruction it causes by building the dam? Doubtful. It’s too busy building to pay attention to the other side. And why is the beaver so busy building? Because it believes the otherside will fix itself naturally. There is no work involved in cleaning up a gutter. The winds of change will blow across it and all will be good.

What the beaver doesn’t realize is that the longer he keeps building up the dam, the more likely he’ll have nothing to protect. The muck will be too deep, the goodness gone forever. And when that happens, the dam gets broken apart and the waters of the world will swallow up the muck. It will consume it. No resemblence to the original pool of water will remain. It will disappear in time.

There is another beaver, however, working quietly and in secret in the water. Steadily cleaning up the water, even while it becomes more dirty from the other’s work. It is a race to keep ahead of the builder beaver, and eventually will overtake it to purify the water. This beaver is injured by what it finds in the water, though, and wants to give up.

But it persists. Like we all must. Or we die in the waters of the world.

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2 Responses to “the dam at otter creek”


  1. occasionally we need to walk on dry land, though it is often times difficult to find our feet, the water’s can’t hold you down forever. Not if you fight.

  2. bingskee Says:

    we need to unclog little by little, not one time, or it will leave a vacuum dried to the last drop. and more so, it might go with it the clean water that the body needs. there are good microbes, though.


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