Water as Artist

Water as Artist

After a few days of house arrest due to a polar express of cold weather, the temperature finally inched up to near freezing. My well pump pipe thawed and I turned the hot water heater breaker back on so that when I returned from walking, I’d finally have a hot shower. I needed to be outside. I needed to move in the world.

When I reached the creek, I stood and took in the sight—beautiful ice sculptures on rocks, on the water’s surface and hanging on branches, rocks and anything wet. A smile erupted, lit up from awe, as I slowly walked to the edge whispering words of gratitude for the beauty.

There were swirls, round marbles, intricate patterns on smooth surfaces, layers reaching into the air…all frozen in artistic display. How? How was it possible to have such amazing patterns and formations? My mind loves to create; but, there’s no way I could ever dream up the variety of ice art the creek produced just from moving in the world. Just from being itself.

Each step led to another unique form of ice…jagged-edged fingers sticking out from the creek bank, flowing water frozen mid-flow, and even the open spaces of flowing water created new lines and circles and geometries for which there is no name.

What would our lives be like if we used our innate beingness and showed up in the world fully present? What could we create if we surrendered to our gifts that so badly want to be expressed? Could we dare be like the creek….creating beauty as it moves through the world just by being itself?  

I’ve often wondered why I am so drawn to fly fishing here in the Smokies. Of course, I am a Nature-lover, tree-hugger, half-faerie and half-water sprite, so that explains part of the reason. But wandering beside the creek, moving up in elevation, I realized the deep appreciation I have for water as artist in the creeks and rivers here, on seashores, or in bays. When I wade fly fishing, I am literally immersed in the art of Nature, and specifically, the artist that is water.

Water takes raw materials of light, sand, rock, and itself and creates something new each moment. I hope that I might take the emotions I experience because of Nature’s artistry, the passionate urge to capture those moments in words and images, and birth beauty in the world. If I do that, I think I will be living my purpose. 

As John O’Donohue wrote, “I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.”

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