My Friend the Sun

If I was a river, and I’m not saying I’m not, I would thread my way through all obstacles. Without them, I could not continue on my journey. In my heart, I’m still in Egypt, flowing over cobblestones, where a donkey is pulling a heavily-laden cart; before I am then once more caught up in a stream making its way back to the sea. That was a different sea I then returned to than the ocean in which I am now rising and falling in a fierce storm and from which my cousins are being scooped up in great sheets of water. Those sheets are not fully embraced by the welcoming arms of the wind; they will fall after just a short journey onto city streets or as snow in the nearby mountains. I know all these places of old. I can remember back billions of years, when I first arrived on this world; more dimly, I can still remember when I resided in a comet far from the Sun, far too from this planet on which I now reside.

Whenever I am close to the Sun, my life never has a dull moment. Well, there was that time when I was swept up by a current and deposited miles deep in an ocean trench, far from the light of my friend the Sun. Then the highlight of my existence was when a whale dove past me down into the sunless depths. When I finally returned to the surface and basked once more in rays of sunlight, I rejoiced along with the dolphins surfing in wind-sculpted waves; amazed to see immense metal ships and metal birds flying with no wingbeats above the clouds. Even the people on board those huge arks looked different, their gestures more subdued, their sinews and muscles more fit for leaning against a gunnel than hefting the weight of an oar.

I remember the countless times I rode on high winds across deserts and fields of grain towards distant mountains, until those craggy peaks, as if replacing the open sky out of nowhere, were suddenly there, reaching up and pulling me into falling rain; and in no time, I was falling and gathering and joining, until there I was, rushing down a steep rock face in a mounting torrent.

It seems that these days those journeys are shorter, puddle jumping jaunts that are over almost as soon as they begin. Gone are the gentle invitations of the Sun, calling us drop by drop into the arms of the wind, to begin a leisurely stroll across the sky. Now howling gusts of winter gales scoop us up and keep us aloft before we have a chance to join hands with the wind. But I still remember the joy of falling as a gentle spring shower, welcomed with smiles on the faces of gardeners, gratefully lapped up by deer at the edge of a spring runoff. Now, I am more likely to find myself falling on already swollen rivers, overflowing onto city streets, flooding basements and stranding vehicles.

But the story is an old one. At first, I am a single drop of water, falling all alone, as if thrown out of heaven with my arms and feet bound, then brought up short in some rocky crevice. There, I discover myself surrounded by others of my kind, all of us stunned and confused. Presently, we are not just alone in a crowd, but feel ourselves moving together as one. Soon enough, our small band of water is joined by others and, sensing the strength in our unity, we begin to sing. It’s not just our congregation singing. The rocky canyons and cliffsides over which we plumet take up the melody. Those are my favorite times: when the hesitant stirrings in puddles that seemed stranded in time and space become a gathering momentum into rushing rivulets; then the roaring passage through deep canyons becomes a leisurely companionship as we make our way back to the sea, from whence we came.

It seems that it will never end. I sometimes feel as close to immortality as it gets on this journey around the Sun. Ever since landing here–when the surface of this world was still a burning cinder, in the time of chaos when so many of my fellow drops were swept back into the barren emptiness of space, where no gathering, no companionship is possible for unimaginably vast periods of time–I have been grateful to be an intimate part of this living world. Some of my fellows complain about how boring it all is. But I say: look around and consider the alternatives. We are on an adventure that gives us an endless journey of discovery. No moment is the same as the one before. And as part of this vibrant aliveness, we too are alive

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