We’ve had the fine fortune to camp by rivers and water these past few weeks. After our week-long stint at the beautiful Eagle Nest we decided to work our way further around the Enchanted Circle and sneak off for the week-end into the forest. We’ve found a near-perfect site nestled in the woods with partial shade and the wonderful song of a babbling brook running alongside our site only 10 feet from the RV (yeah, it’s niiiice!)
Now, for whatever reason I find streams so very relaxing. Something about the rhythm and flow of the water seems to ooze into every pore of my being and infuse me with the very essence of “aaaaaahhh”. It quite literally speaks to me and all of life’s mysteries seem to unfold in the telling. The experience reminds me of one of my favorite short stories, namely that of Siddhartha and since it seemed appropriate to where we’re staying and what we’re doing at the moment I thought I’d share the tale on the blog.
Now, Siddhartha is a wonderful little book from 1922 by Herman Hesse that tells the story of the spiritual journey of an Indian man during the time of Buddha. He starts life as the wealthy son of a Brahmin but decides to set out and find enlightenment. His journey takes him through multiple life experiences including that of being an ascetic, a lover, and a successful businessman. He learns much from each of these experiences, but still doesn’t achieve peace in his spirit. Towards the end of the book he ends up with a poor ferryman by a river. He has lost a son and feels very despondent, but is encouraged to stay. The old ferryman is bonded to the river and induces him to listen to it:
“Do you hear?” Vasudeva’s mute gaze asked. Siddhartha nodded.
“Listen better!” Vasudeva whispered.
Siddhartha listened….often before, he had heard all this, these many voices in the river, today it sounded new….when he heard them all, perceived the whole, the oneness, then the great song of the thousand voices consisted of a single word, which was Om:
In that moment all of life’s mysteries open up in the song of the river and Siddhartha finds the joy of enlightenment.
I’m not sure my experience out here will be quite as dramatic, but I know the river is talking to me. I’m happy to sit down with a book, relax by the stream and listen to it babble away. Who knows what it’s going to tell me today?