Goddess of the Dry Spell

This spring and early summer were unusually wet in our part of the Shenandoah Valley. It rained and rained, resulting in lush lawns and uncommon garden growth through the first part of August. Now though, we are in a dry spell. I spend the first part of every morning out in our vegetable garden with a watering can and hose, trying to keep the plants alive until a good rain can renew them and kick off a late-season growth spurt.

The other day, as I watered the pumpkins, this thought appeared out of nowhere: To these plants, it’s as if I am the goddess of water, their only source of liquid sustenance until the rain returns. My mind played with this idea while I continued my chores and it left me more determined than ever to soak the wilted beets and water the roots of the okra, no matter how long it took.

I see how this “goddess consciousness” has applications far beyond the garden, especially in relationships. What if I approached my marriage believing I could be the goddess of open-hearted love? When my husband comes home after a difficult day, what if I met him with enthusiasm, acceptance, and compassion? Life is so much easier when love is offered, not judgment.

My thoughts drift back to my childhood and my mother’s attempts to shape my personality. I know she did her best, but how different it would have been if she’d understood her power over me and how one kind word could have changed my experience from bleak to blissful. Had she realized she was the deity who determined my worldview and self-worth, I might have grown up feeling empowered instead of inadequate and flawed.

As an adult, I’ve found ways to be the goddess of compassion for myself—slowly changing the voice inside my head from critical to encouraging and from scathing to wise. Meditation has played a huge role in that change, as have yoga, psychotherapy, and simply growing older.

I’m taking on my role as water goddess of the garden with renewed vigor these days, getting up a little earlier so I don’t feel rushed as I drag the hose from the Swiss chard to the sweet peppers, trying to keep the plants alive until afternoon thunderstorms herald the end of this dry spell. And I can offer up the best of me to my husband and friends, realizing that kind words and gestures matter, and that I have the power—through self-restraint and listening closely to my heart—to make someone else’s day a little brighter.

Danna Faulds, author of seven poetry books and the memoir Into the Heart of Yoga: One Woman's Journey, is a long-term Kripalu Yoga practitioner.

Full Bio and Programs