I'm missing a number of things quite a lot right about now. A major thing is Lake Ontario, right behind the dorm I reside in when I attend school. There's two places where you can get closer to the water than just standing on the grass and looking down. One is the stairs that are located between our hall and the next. The other is a patch of grass that doesn't drop at a 90 degree angle directly behind our building. It slopes down gently, and while it doesn't exactly get very close -- as the stairs go right down to the shore -- it's generally much safer in the winter when the ice blocks crash and shatter on the shore.
Even though Oswego can be brutal with its temperatures, I would sit out there on that small slope and stare out at the water. There would be chunks of ice on the worst days floating and awaiting their fate. Depending on the weather I sometimes would not see much ice at all. Sometimes, the large chunks would gather up on the rocks of the shore and just sit there. They'd be miniature icebergs, constantly making sure that nobody with half a brain would even attempt to walk the shore.
Nature is a fantastic thing to behold, as we all should know. But there's something slightly more imperceptible to the average human. Out there on the lake, there are tiny water elemental spirits. They chatter amongst themselves and show me images of waves and sea birds pacing back and forth in the midst of seaweed and algae-- during the brightest, warmest summer days, no matter what time of year it is. During ritual out on the shore, they gather by the western mark -- a blue LED candle most of the time. I cannot see them, but I heard them from the first time I spent a moment out on the shores. Once they realized I could hear them, they did whatever they could to make themselves known to me. At first they weren't so brave. They would keep a distance. But there was one who had no problem with me or my aura or even my shield. They just refused to leave the general proximity of the shore.
When I was a Freshman, I admit to not spending a lot of time down at the lake in the Winter. It was enough to get used to how cold it was and how the climate of upstate New York forced me to change my entire perspective on what "bad weather" actually was. It was last winter, Sophomore year, that I noticed a different sort of water elemental spirit. I stood at the edge of my then-newly-discovered ledge of snow on rock and pine needles overlooking the water. I saw the larger chunks of ice floating on the water. The wind was calm, but the temperature was nearly unbearable. I pulled my scarf up over my nose, and I remember my eyes still watered from how cold it was right there by the water. I closed them, and focused on the spirits that were usually around me; around that area of the lake. That was when I heard them for the first time. Distinctly feminine voices beyond the buzzing, in a strange melody without words. They were eerie, but calm -- not as excitable as the normal water elementals that I came to the lake specifically to encounter. They demanded respect without overwhelming my sense and ability. Their energy moved so much more slowly, making the initial buzzing a lot lower in tone than the others. Not only that, but there was no hint to the voices beyond that of any masculine energy whatsoever. I focused just a bit more, and when they realized that I was attempting to reach out, they answered. Not the "Hey, my name is --" sort of answer -- as I don't speak their language. I hear their buzzing and they show me images. My mind interprets what they say as if it can understand and my ears can't. I was shown glaciers, and drifts of light, powdery snow. I felt a strong wind on my face and a cold that cut straight through all of my layers and settled right into my bones. I saw, almost in fast-forward, water caught between some shore rocks freezing over. I saw the layout of a snowflake as it fell and hit the water. These spirits were water elementals -- but they were spirits of ice. If they could be compared to the phases of life as portrayed by the idea of a triple goddess -- the ice spirits were the crones. They held in them an understanding of the cycle of life -- the importance of seasons. They would have to thaw eventually, and be reborn in another form -- but they accepted such fate. All that power they carried in them -- all the energy that had the potential to move and be used by them -- was frozen. It was as close to the process of "spirit death" as could possibly conceived. (Does that even exist? The elementals seemed so immortal to me.) It was as though these beings were phoenixes of sorts -- sure that once they thawed, they would live their lives again as they once were.
I know there are many ways that elemental spirits manifest themselves. These two examples, while both water, are completely and utterly different, while still being part of a whole. I've met fire spirits, tiny and hyperactive, and felt the spirit of a fire, like a heart or a core of energy. The air elementals can be the most loyal protectors, or the most destructive forces that shape weather. Earth spirits I have never met in the same manner as I have met the water elementals. I know the feeling of the heart of a tree -- and that is close.
I can't wait until I can get back to Lake Ontario -- which might be the entire reason I even found SUNY Oswego, to begin with. I love the school, and love my major -- but the real reason I need to go back as soon as possible is the earth -- that specific patch of earth -- beneath my feet. I belong there, just the same as those elemental spirits do.