the inner alchemy of fish

A river becomes a kind of religion and the fish

are the wise ones.

A fisherman will tell you that to know a fish

you have to think like one.  To think like a fish

you have to know the water  in which the fish swims. 

You must learn to think wet thoughts, learn to

distinguish the taste of reeds and the depth a turtle

dives by night.  Be able to tell the change of seasons

by the smell of the river.


So in the morning, come, make simple offerings of fireflies and

river foam upon altars of fallen trees and tangled roots.

Learn to wear the shadow as your shaman’s cloak, Dance

the sacred dance along the tops of boulders in dappled light.

Become invisible.

Do your daily pujas along the river bank.  Breathe in and out.

Take in the early light and the fog that clings along the river’s bend.

Like the heron stand stock-still and listen.

And as the partridge hiding in the underbrush –

seek refuge in this sacred place.


In time you will become familiar with the sutras of the eddies

the unwavering power and message of the undertow

and the gentle gospel of  the shallows. You will learn

the patience of a sandbar were currents meet inertia,

become strong and unwavering like a ford were resistance

breaks the raging water into harmless pools of froth and foam.


The muezzin call of the osprey will call you, again and again,

to prayer. The river will teach you the esoteric mysteries

of fish, and the fish in turn will teach you how to swim

in the sacredness of water. Teach you it’s inner alchemy

to transform a raging heart into a peaceful backwater.

It will teach you the nature of momentum and the epistles

of impermanence. Not just by observation but by Nature’s sheer force.

You will be taught that the river, at any moment, can take you

and sweep you off your feet.

And in your rough baptism of humility and respect you will learn

the basic truths of water and of life’s fluid simplicity.

And like a doe on the river bank; you bow in reverence

to its glory, drink the teachings the river has to offer

and understand the never ending flow of everything.


 c.m. brooks/river run, 2012 


~ by christinambrooks on February 15, 2013.

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