Sunday, 7 September 2008


I am sitting up in bed in our sailing boat and there is a beautiful sound coming through the open port hole, just inches behind my head. It is that of rain gently trickling off into the sea from the deck above our cabin. Rain - pure, gentle, life-giving and something else too. Deep inside each of us is a soul that needs nourishing to keep us alive, connected and at peace and for me, water is that nourishment.

For as long as I can remember this has been so. Instinctively I have sought the feel, sound, sight and smell of water in every day of my life. When I turn on the hose, I always let a little water run over my hand, just to experience the spirit of it. All my holidays are based around water - the sea, rivers, the snow even. As soon as I got my new camera, the first thing I did was to photograph a raindrop on the tip of a leaf. In the snow I love to take off a glove and plunge a hand into some fresh snow and then scoop it up into my mouth..... cold, crisp, squeaky and oh so refreshing.

Of all the senses filled by water, the one I think I probably seek the most is the sound. Water moves constantly, from the trickling, dripping and splashing of rain to the gentle sounds of a creek meandering between grassy banks and over rocks, to the thunderous roar of a mighty river cascading down a waterfall and the sounds of the sea sighing, rippling or crashing onto a beach.

This need for the spirit of water to keep me sane is at odds with where I live, in the driest state on the driest continent on earth. This constant need will soon drive me to live the rest of my life somewhere cooler and wetter.

Most people I know don't have such a thirst for the spirit of water as I seem to and can't understand why I feel so desperate about it. They more often seem to have a greater need for sunshine. If you need sunshine to nurture your soul, South Australia is the place for you. 

If, however, water is what you need, come with me to the south island of New Zealand where water oozes through the soil and trickles, cascades or recklessly hurtles down every crevice, beside every track and over every rock - icy cold and absolutely pure. Hold a cupped hand below an overhanging rock, catch a mouthful of water the way it is meant to taste and feel and, like me, you will never want to leave.

As a Zen master said "Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo....." So too, go to the water, and once you have made a space, absorb the spirit of water and be filled by it. 

Water is so much more than a resource.



Ewa said...

Beautiful post. Water is mistery of life. I am also water seeker - that is why I have pond in my garden.
...sailing... islands... sounds calming - great Sunday feeling.

chaiselongue said...

This is beautiful, Kate. Water is essential for life, but it means much more than that for you and you express that beautifully. I need sun and light more, but I love the sea and rivers too and can identify with what you say here. Enjoy the rain!

Unknown said...

Just like poetry Kate, beautiful to read. You have a gift of how to put your feelings into words. I love it and enjoy the rain.


Ian said...

Kate, this is yet another wonderful piece. Your passion for one of the basic essentials of life along with your quiet perceptions give us an insight into your soul.... My part of Europe often has too much water and at the moment, in the height of our summer, my old village is suffering from serious flooding....
Your passion is infectious, it makes me want to share with you, the perfection that is water.

Chook said...

I wonder if there’s a hierarchy of needs when it comes to sunshine and water. Since you spend so much time in your garden, you have satisfied your need for sun and feel the thirst for water more. Others who don’t spend as much time outside crave the sun instead. I certainly miss the sun when I don’t get outside much but I don’t realise just how much I miss it until I feel it again.

Unknown said...

Great post! You made me look at water in a different way.

Anonymous said...

My husband feels the way you do about water. I need trees, though.

Deborah Cantrill said...

Well said Kate I too have a great need to conect with water, mainly river water as the sea was a long way when my soul was developing. I did find a landscaped dominated with water. Water that seeps rather than flows your never far from it. Where as the inland landscape there are times of flowing water, waterfalls, rock pools, moss and long peroids of dry but you look forward to the rain as much as the changing seasons and it sooths your soul.Kate you sould read of Viktor Schauberger's work. Have a great trip. The seedlings will be ready on your return.