Not just any water. I'm not talking about the little trickle of water that seems to lurk somewhere deep in my ear when I've been swimming and makes me do that strange jerking motion with my head on one side. Not that sort of water.
This water can take on a whole range of characteristics; you'd be amazed at how many manifestations of this watery feeling there can be. Well, how often do I say stupid things like that? Of course, nothing amazes you. You know my every thought before I think it. You know how confused I get. How bogged down. How impatient and frustrated. How I love metaphor. Ha. Indulge me.
Sometimes it's like a whirlpool. Round and round I go, over the same ground. Faster and faster, going round in circles, not getting anywhere. I get sucked down, down, down. Into the middle where I spin round faster still. Sometimes it's a breathless, desperate sort of place, in my head. This is the way I feel when I'm confused and stressed, trying to find the beginning of a problem in order to work out how to unravel it. I chase my own tail and get nowhere. I can't see outwards because the water swirling is preventing me from looking anywhere but inward, and all the inward-looking just makes it all worse.
Sometimes my head full of water is more like the sea; specifically waves crashing on rocks. The sort of rocks that cause shipwrecks. Sharp, dark, sinister looking rocks, and the waves are big and powerful. The water is turbulent, foamy, frightening. Towering over me, tsunami-like, intimidating and threatening. The deafening roar of breaking waves. The sea is grey and stormy and unpredictable. Nothing is built and things are demolished and eroded. This is not a constructive frame of mind to be in.
Other times the water in my head is more like a drip-drip-drip onto a stone surface. It's a nagging, maddening sort of rhythm. Drip-drip-drip. The sort of thing I can't shut out. It's there all the time, just at the outer limit of my consciousness, unrelenting, distracting. Things get done, but my mind keeps wandering back to whatever the drip-drip-drip is. Slowly, over a long, long time, this drip will erode the rock onto which it falls and I have to deal with it. I can't leave it long because it drives me mad. I need to find the reason for the drip-drip-drip. I need to get something out of my head. You're good at helping me with this but I amaze myself how long it takes me to ask you. How long I put up with the monotony of the drip-drip-drip before I ask for rescue.
Occasionally I have a river in my head. A huge, vast, wide river. I can see the other side and I long to be there but I am separated from my destination by this huge expanse of water. It seems to be moving slowly, or even not at all but the currents under the surface are strong and I know that I can't swim across. Somewhere there is a bridge but I can't immediately find it. The river is beautiful, impressive but implacable. I need to find a way across but for ages I'm pacing the bank, looking across at the other side. I can imagine the view from the other side and I so want to be there but the journey across seems impossible. It's not, of course. Looking back you've shown me how to cross one or two rivers. Nothing is impossible with you.
Then the river might be a stream. A shallow, fast-flowing stream noisily bubbling over rocks and stones. It is fast-flowing and constantly changing. One idea bubbles into the next and they're bright and they twinkle and shine in the sunlight but most of them are impossible to grasp because they're swept away like a leaf on the water before they've properly taken shape. Sometimes I get so far ahead of myself I can't catch up. I'm full of ideas and possibilities and I want to gather them together and pin them down and make them stick forever but it's like putting my hand in this rushing brook to try and stop the water. I dart from one thing to another without letting anything take shape. Making my mind up too quickly. Doing things because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Not settling. Saying things without proper thought. Making snap decisions. Getting excited and not thinking things through.
In direct contrast to this are the days when I feel that in my head is a large stagnant pond. It sits there, mostly in shade, and the water is thick and full of weed that would tangle around your legs and pull you under if you tried to swim. It's unhealthy. A breeding ground for wrongs and difficulties and mistakes and hurts. Entrenched in habits and bad ideas and old problems. Unable to get moving; nowhere to go. Bad. Nothing can breathe in this water. Nothing thrives. It's filmy and smelly and old and dark. I don't like being here.
And then there's the torrent of water. I'm standing at the top of a waterfall watching the breathtaking quantity of water gush over the edge. It sparkles in the sun as it rushes away from me. I see things flash past, carried by the current to the brink and then they're lost forever as they plummet down and down and down. It's beautiful, majestic. Ideas and insights, revelations and images are there - sometimes I can hook one of them out before it disappears over the cliff but mostly they just pass out of reach. Spray envelops me and I know that something wonderful is happening and I am on the edge. Perhaps if I go a bit closer, but so often I lack the courage to go to the edge and peer over to see what vast and awe-inspiring beauty is over the other side.
It rains a lot, in my head. Sometimes the water comes down as a gentle drizzle but other times it's a downpour. I have mixed feelings about the rain. I know that rain is necessary to make things grow, to make things clean; necessary for life. On the other hand I don't like being wet. I don't like how the sky goes dark and threatening and I can't see the colour that I can see in the sunlight. I don't like rain, and yet I know it's necessary. And then just occasionally after the deluge I feel wonderfully, deliciously cleansed. I feel as if I've been drenched in cool, sweet water. These are the times when I can perceive something good coming out of the storm. I look back (usually it's in hindsight, rarely can I see the sun behind the cloud when I'm standing with my hair plastered to my head and my clothes wet through and the rain coming down). I look back and I realise that you sent rain for a reason. I didn't enjoy it one bit, but I'm better for it. As you know, more often I just grumble a lot and try to get out of the rain. I don't like it much. It rains quite a lot in my head, but there are rainbows.
There have been a few times in my life when you have blessed me with another water experience; once or twice since you found me you've reached down and run me a big, hot, fragrant, delicious bath and helped me to climb in. This sort of water is pure comfort. It's the place I want to go when I'm tired and achey and cold and miserable and I don't want to be a mother and a daughter and a wife and have any responsibilities. I don't want to feel weighed down and defeated with aching joints and bits of me that hurt. I just want to be a little girl. I can remember a couple of times in my life where you understood and took pity on me in a wonderful Father like way and told me to climb in, lie down a while and just be still. Muscles aching, sliding down until the bubbles are at my chin. Feeling the warmth penetrate my coldness and cause a pleasant tingle in my fingers and toes. Feel the stress dissipate and the tension leave me. Prepare me for sleep. Safe and relaxing. A letting-go. Thankyou so, so much for this.
Then there's the sort of water that I long for. Sometimes I actually find it, and lately I fancy that I can sometimes remember how to get there, but often it's beyond me. Actually, it's always beyond me, for this is the beautiful, tranquil, peaceful lake where you like me to come to meet you. I don't know why I don't seek it out more often but it's easy to miss a turning and find myself somewhere else. There are other places near here that are quite pretty; other picnic spots that I tend to use when I want my sandwich now and can't be bothered to defer gratification until I get to the end of the trail where you are. Other places that are nice but none as nice as this, but it's quite a walk. Takes some effort to get there. Maybe the more I come the easier it is to find. Perhaps the path isn't so long when you walk it often.
This is the sort of place where I like to sit down and look around, contemplate life. Find a spot with something to lean against and stretch out my legs in front of me and drink in the scenery, allowing it to restore me. I might have a book in my bag but I don't need anything to stimulate me as it's all here. So much to see and yet it's a restful place to be. Life-giving. Pure. Calm. Fresh. Free. A gentle breeze ripples the surface or a fish jumps, or a heron dives. It's full of delights. Something new to see each time I come.
I breathe deeply, fill my lungs with pure air. I wish that those I love could find this place because it would be wonderful to share it. I want to linger, to reflect, to take off my shoes and socks and feel the clean, clear, cool water on my toes. There are trees and mountains reflected in the lake and the sunsets are awe-inspiring. It's vast but intimate. Impressive yet welcoming.
When I'm here I don't want to go home.
I think that one day I won't have to. I'll stay forever and there will always be something more to experience.
This is where I want to be.