Illustration: Gentle waves by John Hopper, 2014.
The flow of water has been a means of inspiration probably for as long as we have lived on the planet as humans. It is our lifeblood, it is our saviour, it makes up a large proportion of our material body, and it has been the source of endless creative observations stretching through poetry, to dance, craft, and into the fine arts.
Water comes in so many forms and so many moods. It can be placid, playful, angry, wistful, joyful, melancholic. Often the character role that we give to water can be more to do with the projection we ourselves give it, than the actual character that the water holds.
We see so many different qualities in water, many of which are played back on to our own human character. We see ripples, stillness, undulating waves, trickles, cascades, all have been used at one time or another to help explain what it is to be human, what it is to have the spirit of a human.
Water inveigles itself into and through our lives. We cannot live without it and so it tends to move through and around our communities, in the form of streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes. We appreciate the reflection that stretches of water give us, and we appreciate the lively sound that running water brings us, as we do the gentle lapping of water in a mild breeze.
Illustration: Cascading water by John Hopper, 2014.
Water, by its very nature is cyclical. The great cycle of water is one of the greatest miracles of our world. Starting as raindrops, water collects itself into a small trickle; it gathers more of itself to itself as it travels downstream, forever gathering more and more water to itself until it becomes an unstoppable flow, water with a mission, water with a goal, the need to reach the ocean. Water is then gathered through convection up into cloud formations, which travel with the aid of weather fronts, until they reach land and raindrops fall to repeat the process again. A seemingly endless cycle, which is a cycle that allows for the repetition of life.
We should always be aware, but so few of us seem to nowadays, that without these continuing cycles across the planet, there would be no life for us to live. We take so much for granted and believe that whatever we do has little if any consequence, very much a case of not understanding or refusing to understand that all life choices have consequences, that actions deliver effects, and most importantly that a sense of responsibility must come as an integral understanding for all individual and combined actions.
As far as creative inspiration is concerned, there is no real beginning or end to the possibilities that can be gained from the observation of water. It is always changing, often many times in a day, every day of the year. The surface of water in its tranquil reflection can show us the mirror of land, the changing colour of sky and cloud, the sheen and sparkle reflected from the sun. A slight breeze across the surface of water can bring any number of abstractions to those same qualities, giving an endless inspiration across a lifetime.
Flowing water brings with it so many different qualities. It gurgles and gushes with excitement and wonder, it cascades and crashes over rocks and boulders, it can also flow smoothly and quietly, drawing its flow through wide arcs across deep green valleys. Plants along and through streams often trail with the flow of water, endlessly dancing with the moves that are life, and life is made to seem abundant along its banks, telling us that this is the source of all the life force of the planet, and that to appreciate it is to understand it.
Illustration: Undulating water by John Hopper, 2014.
I could write a whole book concerning the flow of water that runs through and around our lives, and there may well be just such a book coming out at some point in the near future. To me there seems no greater ambience for understanding than sitting beside a stretch of water. The tranquil reflection on its surface of trees, sky, and cloud, the busy yet calm and considered life it engenders around it, seen in plant, insect, bird, and mammal, brings on the part of the individual participator, a deep understanding of themselves as a life, but more importantly an understanding of themselves as part of the integral complexity that is all life, life as it is really lived and not as we so often imagine it to be lived via our urban lifestyles.
I am lucky enough to experience this every day, and I know that I am lucky to have been given this window on the real world, and never take it for granted. I just hope that everyone at some point in their lives get the same opportunity to experience this cycle of life for which the flow of water is such a vital part.
Tangled weed on a sun-dappled shore
Silent breeze moves the water gently
Flowers vibrate, grass glistens, seeds pop
The damselfly explores
The bird's wing flutters
The lake lies still, but moving
Everything is in a moment
Arriving and leaving endlessly
The circle and cycle of being
The wheel may turn
But underneath all lies
The clearness of silence
The settling of peace
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