waking the dead




It's a little awkward when people talk to you and you just silently smile and nod.

We all nodded and smiled without a word when the tall old salt-n-pepper-haired crater attendant told us our soak time was up.  He tried to make a joke when he said he felt like he was waking the dead. Some of us chuckled but none of us spoke.

Years ago I read a blurb in National Geographic highlighting an incredibly unique geothermal swimming hole in a domed crater, so weird!  I knew it was bucket list material but imagined it in some far away exotic place, turns out it's in Utah; the Homestead Crater.

The first time I saw the dome I was with a bunch of camp scabbers. I thought Morla the giant tortoise from Neverending Story was going to stick his head out and sneeze on me.  What? You've never seen Neverending Story!! Only one of the best movies of 1984.   We went on a whim and without a reservation weren't allowed to swim but one unnamed and unruly camper wore her swimsuit, confidently walked onto the dock and dove into the 95 degree water!  We were all envious of her stolen, under-handed soak!

Since then, I've been three more times and this last time, as part of the Bloom Retreat.  The Bloom retreat is full of awareness, breathing, mindful yoga and meditative practices, so we decided to practice the art of silence at the crater.

In the stillness, the brilliant emerald moss seemed to breathe up the crater wall.  The diamond water dripping from above appeared like fire or stars falling from an inky sky.  In the silence, each diamond fell in slow motion then ker-plopped on the azure surface.  Lying back with my hands behind my head I float weightless, my feet dangling, cradled, as if in mother earth's belly.  It's a strange kind of safety; an exercise in surrender.  I imagine the water tunneling deep below the earth's surface, deep into the heart of the great mother. There she gathers all things that do not serve me.  All thoughts, feelings, actions, traumas, habits that I am able to surrender seem to drip from my body and fall deep into her nurturing heart.   She is the great recycler.  And so, she lovingly gathers all things heavy, dark and useless and makes them light, green and full again.

When I look across the water I see all the Bloom women, lying back, awake in their own silence. The power of this small group of women is so indelible that everyone else in the crater is either silent or whispering.  No one wants to interrupt the peace we have made in this sacred space, no one except the salt-n-pepper haired man making jokes about waking the dead.

The truth is, we did wake up.  We spent a week away from the world;  time reflecting, learning and caring for our bodies, minds and souls.  And during the week, there are a few moments when clarity comes ringing like a bell daring us to act on what we have learned to be true.

Join us, The next Bloom Retreat is April 13-16.  Register here.

camp scabs