Friday, April 18, 2008

The Friday Ramble - Flowing

"For some of us, our love for the world is so great, that we cannot ask it to wait until we are enlightened."
Joanna Macy

It's my ham-handed and arthritic but infinitely loving rendering of the river at sundown on a late summer day in the Lanark Highlands. You can't hear it, but the loons are calling across the water to each other, and a heron strides the shallows around the bend. That evening, the world seemed a perfect place to the bemused elder sitting by the river with her camera and tatty receptacle of artist's implements, her heart as wide and as full as the world.

I'm off and into the woods with my camera today, but the word for this week just has to be flow. The word is very old indeed, and it comes to us through the Middle English flowen, and the earlier Old English flōwan meaning to surge or form waves, to pour out or go by water. Flowing is part of our nature, and it is interesting to note that one can trace the word through so many cultures on this island earth, almost exactly as we hear it and speak it today.

At the heart of flow lies an elemental grace and an abundance of presence, a clear and compelling sense that we are moving along in harmony with the natural orders of which we are such a tiny but integral part. It is something which we need to remember. Earth Day is still a few days away, but the passionate love of Gaia and healing sentiments it espouses should be in our minds and hearts for every single day of the turning year. This one is for Mother Earth.

What does the word flow mean to you? Post a note here or perhaps a link to your own thoughts on the subject.


Sorrow said...

Flow is movement, it is a state of grace with the elements. It is acceptance that all things must "move" in order to be.
I never liked the phrase " go with the flow" , some how that implies that we are all going in the same direction.
This is a wonderful question, I am going to take it outside with me...If I have any epiphanies, i will return.
Thank you...

Suzie Ridler said...

Where you are, sounds amazing. I can imagine the loons and as I read your words, I flow with them. Your words make me water.

Shelli said...

Flow is a beautiful word. I'm not sure exactly what it means to me, but it evokes the image of a mountain stream and my heart, floating on top of it.

Crayons said...

This is a lovely post. I love Joanna Macy - isn't she the one who wrote in the 40s? I'm also crazy for etymology.

Flow. I can't put it into words. OK, I just got up from my chair here in the backyard and did an interpretation via movement. It looked like I was dancing in a swimming pool.

Anonymous said...

Just happened upon your site via a link on Shelli's blog. Absolutely beautiful. Both the words..and the images.
To me - 'flow' is being in the a total state of conscious awareness..where time has a way of standing still. Being in the flow is being in a state of meditation. Your images certainly reflect the sense of flow.

And - where are you in Ontario? I grew up in Montreal..spent many summers in both Algonquin and Temagami parks.

Thanks so much for sharing...

Anonymous said...

I was so happy to read your post as I've been thinking about flow a lot recently. I've been wondering how my experience of time would be different if I focused on going with the flow rather than meeting deadlines.

There's a book about flow written by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who asked people about peak experiences. Unfortunately it's rather dry (no pun intended). I think of flow as a visceral, intuitive experience. That is I know when I am going with the flow. But too often I try to get somewhere faster and ignore the flow in the moment. It is sweet when I am with it.

Anonymous said...

Flow . . . is when we step back from the petty concerns of daily life, into Presence, into Grace. It's that place where everything is easy and nothing is forced. It's so easy to forget how to get there and yet . . . it is only a breath (or two or three) away.

It's a place — or rather a state of being — that I can always get to, through your photos and words, dear Cate.

Anonymous said...

I really like your blog!
Flow, moving in accordance with the will of the Universe.
Flow, moving in harmony with the energies of a creative process, a person or a given situation.
In Taoism this concept is known as Wu Wei "the watercouse way".Water is gentle and at the same time irresistable and supremely powerful when aroused.

Tabor said...

Flow to me means constant change which in my youth was a welcome pattern to life and in my elder years is not so welcome. I don't mean to sound depressing...but I value flow less these days.

Anonymous said...

Flow ?

I have two cats. One is white all over-when she moves, she RIPPLES. The other is a very dark tortoiseshell. And she FLOWS..When she goes out into the night, she flows into it, the night and her physiqie becoming one of a piece. A beautiful thing, but not quite so great when I'm trying to find her again !

I LOVE this blog, kerdelune. Thank you.