“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water.” ~ Bruce Lee
Water fascinates me…
Its shades, sounds, textures and beauty, as well as water’s many uses are truly a gift to the human race. How we manage its resources will be key to the survival of our species and the innumerable amazing creatures that live beneath its beguiling surface.
The purifying and symbolic qualities of water are why it used for baptism.
Water has inspired many an artist. Claude Monet captivated the world with gorgeous impressionist paintings of his water lily pond at Giverny, as well as his French landscapes and seascapes.
Somehow, the watery depictions captured by Norwegian Impressionist Frits Thaulow look so real, more like a photograph than pigments on canvas.
Composers have also been drawn under the magical spell of watery environments. I can imagine myself alive in one of Monet’s dramatic paintings of Étretat or on the cliffs at Fecamp, looking out towards the dramatic coastal scenery along the Alabaster Coast when I listen to La Mer.
If you close your eyes, what sensations or visuals are inspired by Claude Debussy’s evocative orchestral piece?
The BBC’s Blue Planet II documentary, made by our national treasure and indefatigable champion of the natural world, Sir David Attenborough (and many other dedicated marine biologists and cameramen all over the world), showed us the devastating impact of man’s plastic pollution in our planet’s oceans. But they also showed us in ravishing detail the many beautiful and diverse underwater habitats.
Our family watched it in awe.
This scene was heartbreaking:
We have got into the habit of using longer life, heavy duty shopping bags, ditching plastic as much as possible and we recycle like most families. It’s encouraging to see an Indonesian business man doing his bit for the planet with non toxic cassava bags:
“Water is the driving force of all nature.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci
Water is such a fundamental part of life, essential to survival, to ingest, to promote physical strength, to cleanse and to create earth’s atmosphere. But it also provides us with relaxation, sporting opportunities, and memories. It is literally part of us, as around sixty percent of our bodies are made up of water.
As well as its healing properties, water can be incredibly destructive; as we have witnessed at various times, the horrors of natural disasters such as tsunamis and torrential floods on the news. In a biblical sense I’m sure it probably wasn’t Noah’s favourite thing!
Concepts like flow state, and the language to describe Flow is to me, also reminiscent of enjoying time in and around water.
In positive psychology, flow, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting loss in one’s sense of space and time.
The term ‘Flow’ was coined by psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in 1975, which I elaborated on in my post: Shining a Spotlight on your Awesome Character Strengths.
Sometimes it’s good to let go, and stay in the flow. Wait a minute, that phrase sounds familiar…
“Water is the soul of the Earth.” ~ W.H. Auden
We can often take it for granted, but it is perhaps, one of our greatest gifts…
I love this eerily beautiful contemporary classical music, ‘Wreck of the Umbria’ composed by Jakub Ciupinski and played so exquisitely by Anne Akiko Meyers:
James Horner’s celtic Hymn to the Sea written for the blockbuster film Titanic, on Irish Uileann Pipes:
I’ve penned some prose in gratitude to this nourishing, life-giving (and sadly, sometimes life-taking) liquid.
The Wonders of Water
Water’s silky stroke rinses away dirt, revives the spirit,
Boiled droplets captured, to comfort shivery cells,
Cool sips to hydrate when heating we must limit,
Listening to gentle, trickling streams darkness dispels.
A primordial power, water’s subtle vigour is irrefutable,
Eroding rocks, gouging landscapes, shaping shores: illimitable.
Glinting sunlight, evanescent on its shimmering, undulating surface,
Free to flow as a waterfall, or be held in pretty ponds,
Mutable mass of vast oceans, an untameable temptress,
Beckoning us to unfathomable depths past waving fronds.
Floating blissfully on buoyant dreams, avoiding violent storms,
Invisible, swirling currents spewing and spraying fleeting forms.
Liquid particles are greater merged, than a single drop,
Yet individual, like the human family, of one source,
H20 soothes my soul, but also dampens if rain won’t stop,
Frequently changing form – precious water; life giving force
Whether contained in a cup, bath, lake or sea,
Views of aquamarine awaken senses, inspire glee…
Gliding through glistening pools, my heart’s longings,
Swimming weightless, no constriction, just water…
Sunset and moonlight cast their magic onto paintings,
A vision to behold or immerse in; the ultimate transporter,
Reflections of nature glimmer on mirrored, placid surfaces,
Tears of emotion, translucent and pure, shine flawless.
By Virginia Burges
In keeping with my theme I’ll leave you with some highlights from Blue Planet II.
I don’t know about the crab, but this is hypnotising me!
Another hunting/feeding frenzy:
“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”
~ Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad