Saturday, June 27, 2015

Water Meditation

Civilization is recent and fleeting. Nature ― as far as we know ― is eternal. Water is fluid, clear, and shapeless.

Emerson used flowing water imagery and metaphors for water in his essays and poems. In the essay Nature, published in 1836, Emerson asks,
Who looks upon a river in a meditative hour and is not reminded of the flux of all things?
Water represents fluidity, transcendence, and spiritual insight. Water reminds us of the fickle and fleeting nature of how we perceive time.

Emerson encouraged independent thinking and imagination over convention. He reveled in the spiritual nature of natural phenomena.

Hyalite Creek

Appreciation for natural phenomena like the force of flowing water, the mechanics of an avalanche, the phases of the moon, or the life cycle of a mayfly invariably leads us to the vast infinity of poetry. 

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.

  • Nature, an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1836), Wikipedia.