So, I’m thinking maybe the best way to explain the village soul is with another story, this amazing experience I had on the lake last year.
I was sitting on the shore, thinking about something, sure, don’t remember what, cuz I was probably trying to meditate or something, be mindless, you know? And out of the blue blurry unfocused sky an osprey comes diving into my field of vision so that I’m immediately mindful and focused, cuz it’s a real osprey diving out of the sky. It’s got those sharp elbowed wings and eyes that can turn you to stone and its talons are stretched out in front of it as it crashes briefly with the water. It’s part underwater and it’s right in front of me. And it’s got its fish.
They say osprey have, like, a 70% kill success rate when they dive. Amazing.
Right in front of my face, like a TV show, it dives for this fish and it’s got it! And as it flies up off the lake it does a little shimmy like a dog and water comes shaking off it as it flies away. With its fish. And you can see this big bird orient this fish in its giant talons so that the whole thing—the whole package, bird and fish—is aerodynamic as it flies off, a hungry cold-eyed predator and its wide-eyed prey.
Who knows who stocked the lake with fish, but there goes one—a meal for a sea-hawk—and I’m sitting there thinking how the lake is a source of food for the osprey, and I’m thinking about how it’s our resource, too, our drinking water, y’know, and we totally depend on it, right? And I want to draw one of those cool diagrams they do in school about the cycle of the water, falling down from the clouds as rain, and going from mountain streams to lakes to rivers and eventually to the ocean. But it gets confusing because there’s no stream going into our lake. It’s just the water coming up from the spring in the middle of the lake, that last spot to freeze every winter. So we’ve got this perpetual source of water, our village lake, feeding us all but coming from who knows where? From a spring that you can never see because it’s at the bottom of the lake, hidden. And that’s when I think of Mr. Bellis’s bumper sticker: “Man is a stream whose source is hidden.” That’s us, Lilly-Anne, all of us, fed by the soul of the lake. We’re all in it together. Maybe that’s all I mean by the soul of the village: we’re in it together. But it’s not just us. It’s bigger than us.