The River’s Story: an Earth Listening Meditation
This meditation was shared with the Earth Listening Circle on Friday 20 November 2020 by Mary Green Gathergood. The circle organizes weekly guided meditations with a focus on connecting with the Earth, and affirming that we are an intrinsic part of the whole, a part of the Earth. From this place of connection, our intuition can speak to us and offer guidance. You are very welcome to join, on Fridays, at 5:30pm UTC, in this enriching exploration. Events are posted on the DAF events page, updated weekly. You need to join the DAF Professions’ Network in order to opt in to the event to receive the Zoom link.
There was once a spring on the side of a mountain. She bubbled up into the daylight and blinked. Wow… where was she? All around her were rocks, birds soared overhead, small creatures scurried between the stones, a few green plants popped up here and there, some with strange and unusual flowers shining in the bright sunlight. Above were the snow-crested mountain peaks, below the wooded hillsides. She paused for a moment to take stock, to absorb the energies of this mountainside.
Then, directed by an inner force she could neither name nor comprehend, she bade farewell to her surroundings and started off on her long and precipitous journey to the sea. She watched as a dark cloud moved across the sky and became fascinated as large raindrops began to fall on and around her, swelling her and making her bigger, stronger, and more able to negotiate her path ever downwards. She splashed her way down the mountain side, tripping merrily over large boulders and smaller stones, singing as she went.
Eventually it grew dark but still she travelled on, knowing that even in the darkness she was held and loved by the very rocks and stones and soil through which she forged her way. Later, a sliver of light emerged over the flattened meadows to the East and she knew another day was born. She continued to meander through these meadows, her pace slowed by the flattening of the terrain. But the beauty remained, as she was now surrounded by wonderfully coloured wild flowers and a host of singing, chattering little birds welcoming the dawn, just as she was. Life was good.
However, on the horizon loomed strange shapes: hard, ugly, tall buildings sending out plumes of nasty smelling smoke and clouding over the blue sky. The little river wanted to return to her known and beautiful world but it wasn’t to be. Her course seemed destined to head straight for this inhospitable and dead-looking place. After a while, instead of mossy, green banks full of scurrying little creatures, she found herself surrounded by hard, restricting brick walls, blocking out the light and preventing her from seeing the trees and grasses she so loved.
But she was a brave and courageous soul, dedicated to following her destiny, so she held her breath, trying to ignore the noxious smells and foul gases that emitted from these buildings into her pristine, sparkling water. She sang quietly to herself, determined to absorb and heal everything that was thrown at her, transforming it into the sweetness of her natural essence. After a long hard day, she sensed at sunset that she was nearing the end of this difficult phase of her journey, as she could hear birds and insects starting to buzz in the distance.
But night had fallen and once again she plunged ahead, through the darkness and away from the bad smells, tastes, and sounds of the city, once more sensing trees, grasses, and natural abundance nearby. When the first rays of light started to dance on her ripples, she could smell the rich, deep forest floor. Today was a new day and as the sun beamed down through the tree cover, she danced as she flowed through the dappled forest, so happy to be herself again.
This pattern of hillsides and meadows, towns and cities, woodland and forest, repeated itself many times, but still she ploughed on, day and night, finally smelling a new and exciting aroma of seaweed, hearing the cries of gulls, and vibrating to the increased ozone in the air as she neared her destination. She was excited but suddenly an annoying thing happened. A great wall of water repeatedly surged forward, impeding her progress and restricting her flow.
“Stop it!” she cried. “Can’t you see I am on a mission? I have come a long way from the distant mountains and I have to reach the sea.” But the pesky water kept washing over her, forcing her back upstream. Tired and dispirited after all her efforts and unable to struggle longer, she started to let go, feeling lost, bewildered, and confused. Then, as she stopped trying to push her way through this powerful force, stopped insisting she had to reach the sea, she heard a low, deep voice and she heard plainly the words, “Calm down, Little River, I am the Sea.”
Emma Mary Gathergood is a retired mental health therapist, holistic life coach and long time activist and environmental campaigner, whose brother helped to make NZ a nuclear free zone many years ago. Her love of her adopted home of the Malvern Hills, in the UK, together with her dedication to her garden have all helped to develop a deep relationship with the Earth, bringing healing to herself and others.