There is something about water that captures me and pulls me in. It does not matter where it is or how large or small the expanse. It is what I feel and imagine in its presence.
While I grew up in a city on the majestic Hudson River and still bask in its beauty when I am home, I recall how much I loved to simply “go to the brook” when I was a child. The brook was a short walk from my house that was up on a hill, down past the five houses that were my neighborhood and across the road. There was no worry about going alone or only with my best friend in those days. We were free, free, free.
No matter how many dozens of times we visited it, the bubbling stream always seemed new and fascinating, hands dipping in to see what we might discover that was creepy or different, if anything. Minnows darted, always escaping our cupped hands and slipping through our fingers just when we thought we might have caught one.
While very small, the brook seemed so big when I was the one who was small. Such fun was had stepping rock to rock, laughing and praying we would not fall in, or that five minutes after getting there the water would not make one of us want to run home, laughing and legs crossed.
We would launch a leaf or stick and then dash across the road to watch it come out from under the bridge on the other side, where we could only follow it so far before having to turn back because of the brush.
The adventures in that space were never dull or boring. Such words never entered our minds when playing in nature. The ordinary never was ordinary. It was always extraordinary.
This poem by John O’Donohue, a favorite author, brings the beautiful adult perspective I’m certain never occurred to me as a child. I had not lived enough of life though the life I lived then was more than enough.
I want to wrap myself with these words. In some mysterious way I think the foundation for their understanding now had its roots in those magical childhood days, crouched down on a rock in the middle of the life giving brook.
I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.