Saturday, May 2, 2009

The River Within- 1

I stand in front of the river...

On those dilapidated steps, which could have been built by a king at the height of his reign...

There are many voluminous trees all around me, equally old, may not be as old as the river herself, spreading their far reaching but not very impervious shade on the steps, on me and on part of the flowing river...

I move slowly towards the river, one step at a time, careful not to tread on the withering leaves. I reach the last step which just about touches the water; or was it the water that is touching the stone step?

Sitting down, with my feet in water and gaze fixed at the horizon where surface of the river blends with the sky, I slowly lose myself to the swirling current. Is it only on the surface that I see these swirls and swifts and lappings? Will they not be beneath?

As is the mystery of anything which has a living surface and a living sub-surface. As about a human. As about a sea. Where does the line start and end, the line which separates this river's gurgling surface and its calmer depth? Will the line dissolve itself sometimes and the depth erupts into the surface and the surface submerges to the abyss? Why should it do so, if it does? What happens when the depth's surreptitious activity suddenly supercedes the ever so evolving but predictable surface?

Questions poured over.

Just then, I saw an earthen pot, some bangles and threaded flowers floating remorsefully disentangled from the water and though weaving through it. I realised immediately what they were. They are the remnants of a religious ritual, a remembrance for the dead, performed by their beloved ones. To say to those who are dead and watching from above, that those who are left behind are caring indeed.

My string of thoughts, I could see, was getting me somehow twined together with what is happening in front of my eyes.

The river's behavioural differences through its sub-textual layers, as complicated as a human's, as mine, are pulling me towards the transience of life. The continual metamorphosis of forms, one changing into the other, evolving from the previous, taking all the constituents from its parent and yet resolving into a new being which is fully remnant of its own characteristics. Not one moment to be lost, it morphs into its off-spring, wholly colourful and reverberating with a new life.

All intricately innate. From what, I wonder, the first speck of life's impermanent beauty came into being; I also wonder, how does it quickly disappear itself into the cruelty loathing around us. And to know, or not to know, that from where these alternating extreme forms of life were contained, is wonderful and excruciating at the same time.

Do I control my inner thoughts? Or do they happen by themselves within me? Like a river's innards? Does a river control its movements of currents in it’s under belly? Do I have a demarcated line between my external presentations which are read by others, of course with my knowledge and intention, and my internal ramifications, which I hide and hence are oblivious to others?

More questions pour over...

Like a perennial river fed by the melting glaciers, my mind resonates continually, generating more and more queries about itself, in itself.

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Jing'an Temple, Shanghai

And oh, the Jing'an Temple! As per the piece of history printed in their ticket, the shrine was first built in 247 AD in the Wu Kin...