“Have you ever wondered if you could actually walk on water?” Almost the first glimpse of the river looked as if a pathway through the grass continued, uninterrupted across the water, which might have explained the odd musing as we sat watching the water flow through the valley. My companion responded with an emphatic ‘no’. I expanded the idea, not wishing to be seen as any weirder than usual. I wasn’t speaking from a personal perspective. Many cultures have tales in their religious or mythological streams of such miraculous occurrences, from Orion and Huang-Po to Jesus, in Hindu and Native American tales, where water becomes a pathway for the footsteps of those who transcend the human condition.
Theoretically, I mused, it should be possible. As we create our worlds through our own belief, if we have absolute faith in our reality and truly believe that something is attainable. It would need more than a ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ though. It would need utter and unshakeable conviction. I wasn’t about to try, of course. The water, catching the light on its surface might look solid enough in places, but I knew for certain I would only end up very wet and ridiculous; not the state of mind I was envisioning in my philosophical meanderings. Even in theory you could see there was no room for the merest hint of doubt… doubt would imply an acceptance that water is wet and its surface tension too fragile for our presence. Physics would overtake metaphysics and dunk any idiot daft enough to make such an attempt. As you can see, I do not have that absolute faith in the nature of water.
On the other hand the traditional symbolism of the fluidity of water as emotion makes perfect sense in that context. Transcending the human enslavement to emotional reaction would, indeed, allow those who have reached a high enough point of spiritual unfoldment to ‘walk on water’. Emotions are one of those double edged swords; they allow us to know the higher aspects of Man as love, kindness and compassion, for example; yet they may cut both ways if we become caught in the trap that forgets that such things cannot be given with the kind of strings and conditions that seek to bind other lives to our own. They can only be given freely and in that there is both freedom and beauty.
The river itself is a place that calls forth such reflections. Indeed, it seems to mirror more than the hills and trees in its surface. The winding course of the silver stream is sometimes lost beneath the trees, its present shaded in soft, green light as the growth it sustains enfolds it. Sometimes it is lost from view, its future unseen and uncertain as it follows the valley’s contours, twisting and turning. There are stretches where it is wide and expansive, open to the sky, calm as a lake in meditative silence, reflecting back the sun. Metallic glittering as fish breach its surface or the jewelled flash of a dragonfly skims through the quiet reed beds like inspiration bursting forth from the stillness.
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