Tuesday, May 8, 2012

be water (vi)

this is all the use words are for me.

to say this,

‘Highest good is like water,’ says Lao Tzu. ‘Because water excels in benefiting the myriad creatures without contending with them and settles where none would like to be, it comes close to the way.’...‘In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it.’ Tasteless, it accepts all tastes, colourless, all colours, reflecting the sky, refracting the white stones of its bed, dissolving or suspending the soils and minerals over which it flows. The pulse of our bodies is liquid, as indeed all living pulses are. Water dissolves the salt of the parable in the Upanishads, covers the land of Genesis and flows by the paradise of the Koran. And the random blur of noise, the tumult of light at which I now stare is the author of more beauty even than itself: cirrus and cumulus, rainbow and storm cloud, the strata of sunset, the indescribable scent of the first rains on the summer-baked plains.

‘It is all in the water’: Scotch whiskey, Longjing tea. The universal element, it is yet so particular about its local excellences. It ‘benefits the myriad creatures’, yet the vehement loveliness of the cataract is the cause of flood and death in the overburdened stream below. Its substance yields to the guiding rocks, yet its form outlives the rocks that direct and hinder its flow.

I will during my life be certain to drink some molecules of the water passing this moment through the waterfall I see. Not only its image will become a part of me; and its particles will become a part not merely of me but of everyone in the world. The solid substances of the earth more easily cohere to particular people or nations, but those that flow--air, water--are communal even within our lives.

From Heaven Lake, Vikram Seth

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