Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Ramble - Tumble

Falling water, dancing water, water falling, water tumbling, water and stone.... I say the words to myself over and over, and they're a mantra replenishing the winter weary spirit within.

The word tumble comes to us from the Middle English tumblen, thence from the Old English tumbian, meaning "to dance about". Tumble is closely related to the Middle Low German, tummelen which means "to turn or dance", the Dutch tuimelen which means "to fall", the Old High German tumon and the modern German taumeln which mean "to turn or reel." The French word tomber which means "to fall, lurch or flounder" shares these origins.

The early Anglo Saxons knew how to trip the light fantastic, and their language contained several words for dance and dancing: intreprettan, hoppian, hléapan and sealtian to name a few. It is interesting to note that the word tumbler, which is sometimes used to describe a drinking glass, once referred specifically to a glass with a rounded or pointed bottom which could not be set down until it was empty, and the word also describes an acrobat. The expression tumble down is used to describe dilapidated buildings today, but a few centuries ago, it referred to horses which made a habit of stumbling while they were hitched. Then there is the fine expression "rough and tumble" which signifies a certain roughness and withering disdain for rules and regulations.

Tumbling brings to mind a number of things: my ungainly "base over apex" performances on the ice this past winter (although thankfully there are no photographic records of those), the wild clematis vines which tumble with wild abandon and complete insouciance over old rail fences in the countryside. Then there are the graceful tumblings and elegant contortions of Montréal's Cirque de Soleil (Circus of the Sun). The first time I went to see them, it was because their tents looked like something out of a medieval tourney. Then the music, sets, costumes and choreography of Saltimbanco took over, and I was well and truly hooked.

In springtime, there is the madcap tumbling of fast waters, especially one small impetuous river in the highlands - it begins somewhere in the old cedars high up the mountain and tumbles straight down from the rocky heights, arriving at the end of its journey in the beaver pond on the far side of the Two Hundred Acre Wood.

I sit on the rocks by that little river for hours, and I always come away feeling renewed and enchanted. Wonder of wonders, every image I have ever captured there with the camera is more like a painting than a photograph and seems lit from within. Each is complete within itself and beyond It's kind of a Zen thing.


Connie said...

Dear Cate ~ I love tumbling, rushing, gushing wild water! No, I LOOOVVVVEEEE it, it excites me toes to fingertips...there's just something about that energy that I can't resist wanting to become a part of. Maybe I'm part salmon??

Thank you for the pic and the inspiration...

WRO now Goddess Tenacity

Mystic Meandering said...

Cate - Your post didn't show up on my Blogger "Reading List" today, so I am now just finding it! Blogger is doing some weird things lately. It ate a comment yesterday :)

What a photo! Ecstatic - as well as ethereal... And definitely lit from within. I also love Cirque du Soleil, but have only gotten to see one live performance. The others on video...

Happy Tumblin' on your expotitions in the Forest :)

Guy said...

Hi Cate

This is a wonderful photo, this looks like a lovely spot to sit.

All the best.