When the well runs dry
Perhaps it is just because
You turned off the tap
It may be seventeen syllables, but strictly speaking, it isn’t a haiku. It doesn’t conform to the accepted standards for the form… it is simply a statement, but one that struck me as I looked at the picture.
This old spring is born on the moor above Ilkley in Yorkshire. Its waters, long credited with healing qualities, are of an exceptional purity and the flow is constant. It once arose a little distance away from where the water is now fed into the spring housing and from there to the cold plunge bath in White Wells. There, if you are brave enough to face the near freezing temperatures, you can still bathe in the waters of this ancient holy spring.
Once, this spring was a source of water for our ancestors whose tombs and sacred sites are scattered across this little stretch of moorland with an incredible abundance. It flowed unconfined from the heart of the land bringing life and health through its clarity. These days few people can turn the tap to drink the waters. Many would shudder at the thought of drinking water straight from the earth, preferring the apparent safety of chlorination… or the self-same spring water given the stamp of approval by being sold in a nicely labelled plastic bottle. Most of those who come to bathe in its pristine purity do so for a lark, braving the gelid water as part of the New Year’s celebrations. The sacred becomes profane and few take the time to acknowledge the ceaseless flow of this ancient spring.
What struck me, though, was so simple it sounds silly… that although the flow of water is constant, the tap now fitted within the spring housing allows you to turn it off. The pure, healing flow can be stopped at will and by choice, remaining blocked until the tap is once more turned, allowing the natural force of the water to find its path to the sun.
And it made me wonder. So many these days are turning towards a more natural, and often a more spiritual path. Many are seeing value in the age-old ways that have always seen life in everything… a shared life with each thread woven into a single tapestry. For others, spirituality is big business and millions flow into the coffers of those who promise you only have to think with their particular brand of positivity for all in your world to be rosy. People are seeking something…anything, it sometimes seems… that can fill a void of which they are increasingly aware.
Most spiritual paths teach that the source of spirituality lies within… that it is much part of us as we are part of It… however that ‘It’ is defined. Modern life occupies our attention with its ceaseless demands its whirrs, buzzes and pings constantly distracting us from what the inherent flow of a greater life.
Maybe we just have to turn the tap on.