I do not feel as if I have the weight of the world on my shoulders, but I try to take a regular interest in current affairs, so it follows that there should be occasions when the news is not of a nature to lift one’s spirits. On Sunday night, what I saw on the television seemed to be a weary, unforgiving procession of deaths and subsequent funerals, brought about by brutal means such as stabbings, nerve gas, bombs and mowing innocents down with a motor vehicle, so it was one of those occasions when it seemed as if the sorrow felt by thousands elsewhere in the world ebbed silently from the screen into my living room.
Yesterday afternoon, despite the bright and invigorating sunshine, I found my thoughts inadvertently returning to these gloomy matters, so I digested them all as best I could, then I made a point of pausing on a bridge across a stream or river just a hundred yards or so from my home, as I returned from wandering the meadows and woods further afield.
There are several good reasons why I chose to linger at this tranquil spot, one being that a body of water I’ve long thought of as Blueboy’s Pool lies a mere thirty feet downstream of where I was standing. I feel nothing but pleasure when I recall all the many times that I went to this place with my black dog, as I’d mostly just stand there basking in the sunlight and the marked serenity of this spot, sometimes watching dragonflies dance around me while Blueboy splashed in the crystal waters, drinking, cooling himself down, then leisurely exploring the overgrown banks on each side of the pool.
I do not have the pleasure of Blueboy’s corporeal company anymore, but his memory never fails to give me a warm glow, while I long ago discovered that there are all manner of benefits to lingering in this blessed place, regardless of the hour or the season. On this occasion, I immediately found myself captivated by the strange music generated by the waters beneath, and the most prominent notes came from a short distance upstream from me, in the photo at the top of this post, on the left.
This river lies in a flood plain, so most of the surrounding fields are cut with deep ditches to help the waters drain away on the frequent occasions when this landscape becomes a lake. One of these ditches emerges from the fields roughly twenty feet upstream from me, so although I could not see any ripples on the side of the river from what must have been a small waterfall disrupting the surface, it was clear to me that a small stream was dripping down from the bank and across some hidden obstacles to produce a never-ending ripple of high-pitched notes, the liquid equivalent of cheery birdsong.
Unless you have been fortunate enough to experience such a thing for yourself, it is almost impossible to convey just how uplifting such a bright melody can be, as these notes generated by the passing or falling of water possess the ability to calm the troubled breast and to make the soul glad. I do not know how long I stood here, breathing in slowly and deeply through my nostrils, enchanted by the river’s song, luxuriating in the sun’s warm rays and the gentle breeze on my skin, but there belatedly came a point when I realised that the music I could hear and which delighted me so much did not emanate from the single source I’ve described.
I gradually became aware of a single note that regularly appeared as a counterpoint to the melody from the hidden waterfall, but it was deeper in tone to the bright ripples and drops burnishing the air upstream. I soon located its source, which was the regularly-forming crest of a wave brought into being by the quickening current hurrying over a large stone, plunging down a few inches before encountering another stone that forced the water back upwards. Every few seconds, the unwieldy crest would tremble, then drop back into the trough upstream and while there was an accompanying merry gurgle from the tumbling waters on each side of the falling crest, the main body in the centre produced a sweet and echoing chime as it fell.
I do not care to analyze these things too much. The reasoning and rational part of me realises that many factors were at play here, such as the time of day, the temperature, the position of the sun, the volumes of water in the ditch and in the stream, the preceding weather that had brought these things about and numerous others. I do not suppose that any supernatural agency was at work here, but at the same time, I doubt that any human hand could reproduce the magical music produced by the elements, which had the direct effect of inducing a state of serenity and bliss in me, the fortunate observer and hearer of these unfettered, Arcadian things.