The answer seems obvious. But it’s not so simple.
In Scotland’s mild, damp climate we tend to take water for granted. But just now the loch beside our house is as low as I’ve ever seen it. The expanse of dried mud and stone all around its shore keeps on getting wider and wider. We had to chase the neighbour’s cows out of our garden after they paddled across in search of fresh grass. I can scarcely hear the flow of water that normally fills our garden with sound, the stream reduced to a trickle. Thankfully, the holy well of St Magnus at the top of our track is, so far, still flowing clear and sweet. But we need a good steady replenishing rain, and lots of it, over the coming months.
Water is a real, tangible phenomenon in our familiar, shared, everyday world, but something about its inherent nature helps us to reach towards parts of our lived experience that are mysterious, puzzling, humbling, elusive, or just too big, complex and paradoxical to hold steady in the mind; the way a simple glass of water in our hand reaches back through taps, pipes, reservoirs, and rivers to clouds, atmospheric ‘rivers’ like the Gulf Stream and the oceans. The way the reflected sky sparks out of a puddle showing us a gleaming otherworld, down there where we bury our dead, just here but somehow unreachable. The way it’s constantly undergoing processes of change, as if embodying the passage of time.
May your own local waters flow sweet and clear.