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Cleaning the Pool: A Miracle of Presence

March 27, 2009
Dennis Cleaning Pool

Dennis Cleaning Pool

I awoke this morning to discover that our swimming pool was filled with leaves from last night’s high winds. Though part of me dreaded the cleaning job that lay ahead, another part, more who I am in my essence, welcomed this new situation as an opportunity to go outside in the sunny cool air and work with simple presence. And so I did.

I was joined by Ella, our golden Retriever, who is very near death from cancer. She lay totally relaxed on the moist grass and wagged her tail whenever I spoke to her or gave her any kind of attention. I felt a deep sense of sadness as I looked at her. But thankfulness too that I had (and still have) the opportunity to experience her wonderful presence.

Working quietly scooping leaves from the pool with a skimmer net attached to a 10 foot aluminum pole felt really good: me, here, cold hands, arms and back aching, birds singing, weight supported by earth, immense blue sky, and a never-ending supply of leaves in the pool. What more could I ask for? It was all perfect.

Yes, thoughts arose, though they were only temporary guests in the vast expanse of presence, very much like the leaves in the pool. Eventually, of course, the leaves began to disappear, almost as though by magic. My only job was to scoop them up and toss them over the fence into the alleyway behind our garden, not to count them. And the thoughts, which were incapable of disturbing my tranquility, vanished too.

Suddenly the surface of the pool was shimmering again. As I looked deeper, though, I realized that that many leaves had sunk to the bottom of the pool overnight and that my automatic bottom pool cleaner was not getting the job done. As I looked more closely, I saw that the cleaner was not actually touching the bottom of the pool, almost as though it preferred to remain above the messiness. As I pulled the cleaner up to the surface of the pool and looked even more closely, I noticed that a small brush, undoubtedly blown into the pool by the wind, had lodged into the suction hole at the bottom of the cleaner and was projecting down two or three inches, so that even though the cleaner was flapping its paddles it was never able to touch bottom. A simple fix; just pull the brush out!

It’s often like that, isn’t it? But it’s not always easy. As George Orwell wrote: “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.”

For me this morning, though, no struggle was needed. Something was wide awake, and that is all that was necessary. As I write these words, imperfect messengers though they be, the wakefulness remains. It’s a miracle; it brings the world to life.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 28, 2009 12:07 am

    “We have now sunk to a depth at which re-statement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.” -George Orwell

    Above I have shared with you my favorite Orwell quote.

    I found this blog while searching for Pool Service blogs around the web. I began to read your post, realized your blog was not centered around the Pool Service but rather a variety of subjects. Either way I felt myself compelled to continue reading and leave a comment to just say “hello.”

    So hello Dennis…. I will be frequenting your blog…


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