Water as part of our origin story, as element of chaos, danger, and destruction, and places of crossing and transition

Unable to perceive the shape of you, I find you all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with your love. It humbles my heart, for you are everywhere. — Hakim Sinai, Sufi poet

They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming. ― Hermann Hesse

All water is holy water. ― Rajiv Joseph

No water, no life. No blue, no green. – Sylvia Earle 

… again and again a new land edge emerges a new people emerges where race and class and death and life and water and tears and loss and life and death destruction and life and tears compassion and loss and a fire stolen bus rumbles toward you all directions wherever you are alive still
— Juan Felipe Herrera

  “The Water said to the dirty one, “Come here.” The dirty one said, “I am too ashamed.” The water replied, “How will your shame be washed away without me?”
— attributed to Rumi

SONGS about WATER:

Water Resources:


Water Themes in Scripture:


Mythology of Water:

Water —  Ralph Waldo Emerson
The water understands Civilization well;
It wets my foot, but prettily,
It chills my life, but wittily,
It is not disconcerted,
It is not broken-hearted:
Well used, it decketh joy,
Adorneth, doubleth joy:
Ill used, it will destroy,
In perfect time and measure
With a face of golden pleasure
Elegantly destroy.


The Water Diviner— Dannie Abse  
Late, I have come to a parched land
doubting my gift, if gift I have,
the inspiration of water spilt,
swallowed in the sand.  
To hear once more water trickle,
to stand in a stretch of silence
the divining pen twisting in the hand:
sign of depths alluvial.  
Water owns no permanent shape,
sags, is most itself descending;
now, under the shadow of the idol,
dry mouth and dry landscape.  
No rain falls with a refreshing sound
to settle tubular in a well, elliptical in a bowl.
No grape lusciously moulds it round.  
Clouds have no constant resemblance to anything,
blown by a hot wind, flying mirages;
the blue background, light constructions of chance.  
To hold back chaos
I transformed amorphous mass—and fire and cloud—
so that the agèd gods
might dance and golden structures form.  
I should have built, plain brick on brick, a water tower.
The sun flies on arid wastes, barren hells
too warm and me with a hazel stick!  
Rivulets vanished in the dust long ago,
great compositions vaporized,
salt on the tongue so thick that drinking, still I thirst.  
Repeated desert, recurring drought,
sometimes hearing water trickle, sometimes not,
I, by doubting first, believe; believing, doubt.  

WATER REFLECTIONS

Water is the driving force of all nature. — Leonardo da Vinci

Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it. — Lao Tzu 

We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one. — Jacques Yves Cousteau

In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans. — Kahlil Gibran

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man. – Heraclitus

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. — Isak Dinesen

Thousands have lived without love, not one without water. — W. H. Auden 

A drop of water, if it could write out its own history, would explain the universe to us. – Lucy Larcom

Water is the most critical resource issue of our lifetime and our children’s lifetime. The health of our waters is the principal measure of how we live on the land. – Luna Leopold

Water is the mother of the vine, the nurse and fountain of fecundity, the adorner and refresher of the world. – Charles Mackay

You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.” – Rabindranath Tagore

Water is the most perfect traveller because when it travels it becomes the path itself! ― Mehmet Murat ildan

I believe that water is the closest thing to a god we have here on Earth. We are in awe of its power and majestic beauty. We are drawn to it as if it’s a magical, healing force. We gestate in water, are made of water, and need to drink water to live. We are living in water.― Alex Z. Moores

Water sustains all.– Thales of Miletus

To put your hands in a river is to feel the chords that bind the earth together. —Barry Lopez

Water is fluid, soft and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong. – Lau Tzu

Water Water Water Wind Water
Juan Felipe Herrera

for New Orleans and the people of the Gulf Coast

water water water wind water
across the land shape of a torn heart
new orleans waves come louisiana the waves come
alabama wind calls alabama
and the roofs blow across red clouds
inside the divine spiral there is a voice
inside the voice there is light water wind fire smoke
the bodies float and rise  
kind flames bow down and
move across the skies
never seen blackish red bluish bruised
water rises houses fall
the child the elders the mothers underwater
who will live who will rise
the windows fill with the howling
where is the transfusion
where is the lamp
who who in the wet night jagged in the oil  
waves come the lakes loosen their sultry shape
it is the shape of a lost hand a wing
broken casinos in biloxi
become carnations across the sands
and the woman in the wheelchair
descends her last breath
a rose in the razor rain uptown on mansion hill
even the million dollar house bows
in the negative shade
someone is afloat
a family dissolves the nation disappears
neighborhoods fade across lost streets
the police dressed in newspapers flutter
toward nothingness moons who goes there  
under our floors filtered wooden stars
towels and glass gasoline coffins
the skin of trees and jalopy tires
fish bebop dead from the zoo
the dogs half drag
ward number nine
miss Symphony Spikes and mrs. Hardy Johnson
the new plankton new algae
of the nameless stroll in the dark
ask the next question about kindness
then there is a bus a taxi a hearse a helicopter a rescue team
a tiny tribe of nine year olds
separating the waters the oils and ashes
hear the song of splinters and blood
tree sap machine oil and old jazz trumpeters z’s and x’s
raffia skirts and jujube hats and
a father man holds the hand of his lover
saying take care of the children
let me go now let me stumble
stumble nowhere
drink this earth liquor
going in petals  
stadiums and looters celebrities cameras cases more water cases
again and again a new land edge emerges
a new people emerges where race and class
and death and life and water and tears and loss and life
and death destruction and life and tears
compassion and loss and a fire stolen bus rumbles
toward you all directions
wherever you are alive still

Reflections on water & respite in hard times and places

As one commentator says, “there are many kinds of thirst.” Where do we find respite and rescue in the midst of dry, hard, troubled times? What are the wastelands of our lives? Where do signs of life surprise us in our personal and communal “desert places”?

You should not see the desert simply as some faraway place of little rain. There are many forms of thirst. — William Langewiesche
Water Water Water Wind Water Juan Felipe Herrera
water water water wind water
across the land shape of a torn heart
… again and again a new land edge emerges
a new people emerges where race and class and death
and life and water and tears and loss
and life and death destruction and life and tears
compassion and loss and a fire …
rumbles toward you all directions wherever
you are alive still

If you don’t die of thirst, there are blessings in the desert. You can be pulled into limitlessness, which we all yearn for, or you can do the beauty of minutiae, the scrimshaw of tiny and precise. The sky is your ocean, and the crystal silence will uplift you like great gospel music, or Neil Young. — Anne Lamott

What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well. —Antoine de Saint-Exupery

This is the sense of the desert hills, and there is room enough and time enough. — Mary Hunter Austin

Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water. — Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

To be commanded to love God at all, let alone in the wilderness, is like being commanded to be well when we are sick, to sing for joy when we are dying of thirst, to run when our legs are broken. But this is the first and great commandment nonetheless. Even in the wilderness–especially in the wilderness–you shall love [God]. — Frederick Buechner, A Room Called Remember: Uncollected Pieces

Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure. — Francis of Assisi

I alternate between thinking of the planet as home–dear and familiar stone hearth and garden–and as a hard land of exile in which we are all sojourners. — Annie Dillard

Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected … On the other hand, wretchedness–life’s painful aspect–softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose–you’re just there … Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together. ― Pema Chödrön, Start Where You Are

… there are no crows in the desert. What appear to be crows are ravens. You must examine the crow, however, before you can understand the raven. To forget the crow completely, as some have tried to do, would be like trying to understand the one who stayed without talking to the one who left. It is important to make note of who has left the desert. — Barry López, Desert Notes: Reflections in the Eye of a Raven

New Water
— Sharon Chmielarz
All those years—almost a hundred—
the farm had hard water.
Hard orange. Buckets lined in orange.
Sink and tub and toilet, too,
once they got running water.
And now, in less than a lifetime,
just by changing the well’s location,
in the same yard, mind you,
the water’s soft, clear, delicious to drink.
All those years to shake your head over.
Look how sweet life has become;
you can see it in the couple who live here,
their calmness as they sit at their table,

the beauty as they offer you new water to drink.

DesertJosephine Miles

When with the skin you do acknowledge drought,
The dry in the voice, the lightness of feet, the fine
Flake of the heat at every level line;

When with the hand you learn to touch without
Surprise the spine for the leaf, the prickled petal,
The stone scorched in the shine, and the wood brittle;

Then where the pipe drips and the fronds sprout
And the foot-square forest of clover blooms in sand,
You will lean and watch, but never touch with your hand.


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