Yesterday afternoon was hot and muggy, so I took the kids to the little pond where I was baptized.
This place always feels holy to me now. Even with the screaming kids and the lifeguards and the baking moms and dads. Even with the rough-housing teenagers who wish they were at the ocean. Even on a steamy day when the water on the surface of the pond is as warm as a tub, and dark as smoked tea.
My dunk took place on a September morning, when there were no kids or moms or teens. Just a couple of fisherman on the opposite bank, catching a different sort of fish. It was cool and clear. The water and insects and wet white of my ministers robes conspired with the holy spirit to infuse, not just me, but the whole world, with God's grace and love.
It is a spring fed pond, made dark by the tannic acid of the surrounding pines. It smells delicious, woodsy and secret, even in broad daylight at the height of summer.
The surface water is way over 80 degrees, but just below, near our feet, the springs gush forth cold water from deep within the earth, reminding me that it's heart is not the stagnant water lily studded surface. But deeper, hidden, pure.
And then there are the geese. A whole flock of Canada geese that patrol the beach and cruise the surface of the pond, gliding here and there, ignoring the ropes and buoys designed to hold the wayward swimmers in.
They mutter to themselves, almost always travel together, litter the beach with their droppings, much to the chagrin of the lifeguards, whose duty it is to clean up after.
As I sat in the shade of the tall pines and read my book, a lone goose approached. He looked right at me and mumbled.
"Do you have a word for me?" I asked.
He honked gently in reply. A deep rumble. Lower by half an octave than his friend's voices.
"Yes," I said.
"It is a holy place, isn't it?"
He murmured his assent and then walked off, launching himself into the water and gliding away.