Water always goes

A goose goes with the flow of the Potomac River, Washington DC, March 2016.

A goose goes with the flow of the Potomac River, Washington DC, March 2016.

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it…If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.”  — Margaret Atwood

Deceptively powerful and endlessly mesmerizing, water permeates almost every aspect of our lives.  It can be dangerous, even lethal, and many people have an instinctive fear of it.  Yet its sights and sounds calm our souls, lulling us into deep reverie or lighthearted playfulness.

If you are feeling overwhelmed with too many tasks, or agitated by worry, try a bit of water therapy.  Sit and gaze at a flowing river or placid lake.  Take a nice warm bath and enjoy a bit of splashing about as a child does.  Or simply indulge in a few quiet minutes listening to the sounds of rain, a gurgling stream or fountain, or a kettle simmering with water for tea or coffee.

Whether your visit with water happens literally, virtually or in your imagination, think about Atwood’s description of its gentle tenacity.  Water offers us many lessons.  If things get tough today, I’ll try shifting to a calming mental picture of its steady rippling beauty.  I’ll try flowing on, not resisting, but finding new pathways when I come to obstacles.  I invite you to join me in tapping into the fluid power and grace of this everyday element by taking a few minutes to focus on its agile strength.


  1. Julia, thank you for the image of peace flowing through me like water. I like the phrase “River of Life”. I will remember to go with the flow today! Love you, I keep you all in my prayers dear sister.

    • Thank you Cherie! I too like the phrase “River of Life.” Today has already started with my needing to “go with the flow” so this message is timely for me. Funny how often my own words that are written in advance often seem aimed right at me on the day they are published! We need and appreciate your prayers. Thanks so much for being with us!

  2. Sheila

    Good morning! ☕️ I’ll be reading this with my java shortly. Have a wonderful Thursday. 💛

    • Sheila, once again we are on the same page. I decided to have coffee instead of tea this morning. Rare for me, although increasingly common lately. 😀 Joining you in spirit across the miles. ❤

  3. Carolyn

    I go to sleep every night with the sound of a small stream . Love to watch the waves while setting on the beach , the sound it so relaxing. Terry and I was on the porch yesterday listing to the rain. Prayers for all and sending lots of hugs.

    • Thank you, Carolyn! Jeff and I have a white noise machine that we usually keep set on “rainfall” at night. Isn’t it nice having these bits of techno-nature to enjoy?

      We need and appreciate the prayers and hugs. Thanks for sending me a mental image of you and Terry on the porch, enjoying the sound of real rainfall. It was a refreshing quick escape for me, and brought back memories of our days in Memphis. Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. Julia, good morning.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about water.
    I enjoy water but also have a healthy respect for it.
    Praying healing mercies for you and Jeff.

    • Thank you, Merry. We so appreciate your prayers and presence here.

  5. Heba

    Just joined my daughter for the mile running around school this morning and I’m waiting for the bus now. Birds are chirping and the sun is shining through the trees but I can’t help but visualize calming water scenes while I’m reading this sparkling post Julia!

    • Thank you, Heba. Isn’t it wonderful to hear the birds singing? The other day my friend was helping me in the yard, and I could hardly drag myself away from the “work” (which is not work but fun for me) because I was enjoying the sound of the birds so much. I also enjoyed visualizing you running around the school and enjoying the sun through the trees. Thanks for being here and sharing the joy!

      • Heba

        Thank you for having me Julia! You know how much I love your attitude and the positive atmosphere your blog creates ^_^

        • I could not do it without all you wonderful readers who meet me here! 😀 ❤ 😀

  6. Debbie

    I have not commented in a long time, but have been reading for a long time after having “found” you on the Upper Room. I walk most days by a river and it gives me peace, but this gives me a whole different prospective. I pray for your family often and will continue to. I also lost my mother this past year and loved the butterfly tribute to your father. Thank you.

    • Debbie, thanks so much for your visits here, and for your prayers. I am sorry you are dealing with the very unique grief that goes with losing a parent. I know you have probably had many bittersweet moments in the past year, remembering. I’m happy you are able to walk alongside a river and enjoy the special gifts that go with waterfront scenes. Whenever I am able to get outdoors, it’s hard to feel sorry for myself for very long. What a privilege for each of us, to be part of such magnificent creation– to be able to see and hear and experience it! I appreciate your being here and reading my blog. It means so much to know others are sharing my thoughts.

  7. Hey Canada Goose, say hi to Julia for me……

    I couldn’t agree more, water has been the Rx to what ails me almost my entire adult life. First, living at the lake we had the gift of just admiring the view and also watching a lot of nature make life around it too. Now in the city, we’re only a block away from a river walk where we can stroll and hold hands like kids 😀 It’s easy to walk in silence near the river, we can both just be mellow, with gentle evening sun on our faces, birds zipping to and fro and the sounds of the city melting into the abyss. I’ve never had a panicking moment in the water, but respect the water and know that it is a living thing that can be deadly in a bad situation. Hopefully I’ll never have to fear it and it’ll only be part of my best days. I hope you’re having good days Julia and things are getting better everyday xo K

    • K, I loved your description and I can just picture you and Mr. B soaking up the serenity. It’s good that you have the river to fill the gap that otherwise might have been felt when you left your lakefront home. I do wonder whether those who have been traumatized by floods and surges and such can ever see water in the same way. Like you, I hope I never have to find out.

      Things are mostly getting better, but it seems the obligations, doctors’ appointments (for both Matt and Jeff) and paperwork (ditto) get more overwhelming all the time. Now that I’m “designated driver” I feel like a chauffeur, especially since Bethesda is such a long ways from our home. BUT I’m happy Jeff is able to get treatment there and we are both encouraged to see how optimistic many of the doctors seem. Not all, but many. He’s been there for so many years now that pretty much everyone having anything to do with cancer treatment has seen him or at least heard of him. Hopefully his vision will continue to improve to the point that he can safely drive again. I know my driving is hard for him to take (he likes the fast lane and I poke along, as you may remember 😀 )

      I showed my friend Amy the beautiful Easter “basket” you made for me, and she said “I’d LOVE to spend a day in her craft room!” I told her I hope to see the BOOM ROOM in person one day, but til then, I am promising myself some virtual visits to “my happy place” SOON. ❤

      • I surely hope you can visit one day J, in fact I’m counting on it. Please tell Amy I’m thankful for her cheer, how sweet is that? You’re not missing any ‘Happy Place’ happenings this week. Urban projects are keeping me on my toes. I’m designing my first class right now. Exciting! Hopefully by Sunday, I’ll be back on track. We went out to dinner tonight (our usual Friday date) and I’m taking it easy.

        On the home front, I’m relieved that you’re able to get both Jeff and Matt round to their appointments and hope that you don’t have to travel at night too often. I get freaked out after dark and really have a hard time seeing with all the bright lights. BTW, I’m in the slow lane too. There’s no reward for arriving at the red light first. xo K

        • I SOOOO wish I could be in your class! Hey, I’m glad I’m not the only one who freaks out driving after dark. As you know (because I almost got you, Pauline and me killed on our way home from Dulles that night) I don’t see too well then either. Luckily, Jeff’s outpatient appointments are all during the day, and we’re having long days now — hooray! That is truly a post-worthy quote: “There’s no reward for arriving at the red light first.” I love it! I’ve never understood why EVERYONE doesn’t see it that way. Accelerator-to-brake driving seems mildly pathological to me. And for some of the cars I see on the road, EXTREMELY pathological! 😀 Not that I’m a great driver either, but at least I don’t get my jollies from speeding and getting all territorial when I see someone’s trying to merge or change lanes.

          • Pathological is spot on J. Since, I’m no daredevil, it’s probably the most dangerous thing I will ever do, simply drive to work. Here, if you’re caught on your phone while driving, it’s a $250 fine. Guess what? Every second person you see is speeding to the light so they can text on their flipping phone. I generally dislike honkers, but I too have honked in protest when the light turns green and the driver in my lane just sits there. You know they’re on the phone and their audacity to snub the rules at everyone else’s expense is so selfish. ugh! I want a megaphone, “get off your phone you selfish Baboon!” is what I’d be blaring out my window. What’s wrong with people. I’ve lost any hope that people will be courteous and cautious with the ‘privilege’ but it’s doubtful. xo

            • K, on behalf of baboons everywhere, I would like to say “no offense to our primate friends is intended.” JUST KIDDING!! 😀 😀 😀 Seriously, I totally agree with you about texting and driving. And so do many researchers, evidently, because I am constantly seeing stories about how texting while driving is as dangerous, or in some cases even more so, than drinking while driving. AND, just to come clean, I must admit that there have been many occasions when I was WAY too distracted to be safe, either by a ringing cell phone (rarely) or by fiddling with the GPS (far too often) or by talking (almost all the time 😀 ). As humans we seem to have a rapidly diminishing ability to focus and make sound judgments about priorities. The good news is that hopefully, we are waking up to that. The late, great Marshall McLuhan, an amazingly prophetic man, said “The greatest discovery of the 21st century will be the discovery that Man was not meant to live at the speed of light.” Let’s keep working to make his prediction come true. Tea, anyone? 🙂

  8. I love my time in a hot bath, often with a good book or a magazine. It soothes my sore muscles and relaxes me like nothing else. We also have a small fountain in our back yard. I love the sound of the flowing water, along with the visits from the birds.

    Thanks for the inspiration, Julia.

    • Alys, I’m glad to find another fan of baths. Most of my friends take only showers. Whenever I sink into a nice hot bath, I remember the words of Sylvia Plath in The Bell Jar: “I never feel so much myself as when I’m in a hot bath.” I have never figured out how to NOT ruin a book or magazine in the bath! So I only read magazines OR listen to audiobooks, both of which are a nice substitute. If you ever make it to our York home for a visit, you’ll have to try my sauna. My nightly ritual there is a sauna and then a bath. Better for sleep than almost anything I know.

      I do love the sound of running water, too. At our York home, the creek is too far from the house to be audible, but the one behind our townhome in Alexandria is so close that I can hear it quite well from the deck or porch after a big rain. Wonderful! Nothing quite like it. Thanks for sharing these happy thoughts.

      • Julia, it takes some practice, and only works with a paperback book, but I get myself comfortable, thoroughly dry my hands, then dive in to the book. My bigger challenge is steaming up my reading glasses. An audio book is a great idea!

        A sauna sounds wonderful. What a treat that would be.

        • Being nearsighted has finally paid off after all these years– I don’t need reading glasses. 😀 I have learned to keep a towel nearby to avoid getting the magazine pages wet, but holding the book open is still a challenge to me. I’ll try it with an older book that I don’t need to worry about ruining. No can do with a library book, though!

          I have always loved saunas. In CA I used to use the one at the base gym when we would go there to work out, but when we got to Virginia, there was only one sauna that was used by both men and women…not nearly as appealing, if only because it was more crowded and I felt as if I had to wear more clothes. 🙂 After much inner debate I broke down and got my own home version, and installed it in our master bath, which was plenty large enough for it. It has been one of the best investments I ever made. I have already used it so much over the past 10 years that it comes out to just pennies a day in terms of what I spent for it, and it uses very little electricity (it’s a far-infrared type). I was a bit skeptical about whether the far-infrared would be as good as the old timey traditional sauna (where you pour water over the rocks 😀 ) but now I prefer the FIR. For one thing, my jewelry doesn’t get so hot that I have to remove it. The sauna is what I miss most about being in York Co. It does wonders for my sleep.

  9. Water has always worked for me–its power, its serenity, its constant change. Isn;t it wonderful?–0h, you already said that! 🙂

    • But it’s always nice to hear it again! I love sharing the joy. 🙂

  10. LB

    Hi Julia. I love Atwood’s words: When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress.
    Water is soothing, empowering, powerful, calm … so many things.
    I’m glad to come here today and read your words, too, Julia

    • Thanks, LB — I’m always happy to see you here!

  11. Good morning, Julia! This blog made me think of Tai Chi, directing the “flow” of energy into something positive. You and water are both like that, too!

    • Susan, I wish! Maybe in my better moments I could be compared to water. Most of the time, I feel more like burned toast or a washing machine that is thumping so loudly it might explode from an unbalanced load inside! 😀 I’ll try to channel the water image…no pun intended. Maybe I should try some Tai Chi whenever I manage to carve out the mythical spare time I long for.

  12. The sound of water and being in it so soothing because we are mostly water. It’s like home to us. When it rains, I stop and listen. I love the sound. That’s as close as I get to water most of the time. I’m a shower person as the tub is in my son’s bathroom. When he moves out, I’ll enjoy it again. But mostly I’m always in a hurry so I shower. Your post made me feel like I was floating on a water lily. I’m a person that has learned to go with the flow. Works better every time. As for driving, even half blind, I pick the fast lane most of the time. I do NOT tailgate to push people down the road, always move over if someone wants to go faster, and give myself a comfort zone no matter what lane I’m in. I want space to move if I have to. Speed limits are suggestions and I never speed in a residential or shopping area. Only on the open road. No tickets, no accidents and no one flipping me off. I’m a very courteous driver who always makes room for even big rigs if they need it. You can go fast and be kind. I pay very strict attention to my driving. If I’m talking with you, I may pause if things get too tight. NOTHING is more important than managing that 7000 pound deadly weapon. Taught both kids to drive the same way. No tickets, no accidents and no one flipping them for not being courteous. Courtesy is the first rule of the road which lends itself to safety. I’ve been quite verbose about a subject not in your post. My apologies. My dad once said he’d ride with me anywhere after I got us through a white out in New Mexico. It was the nicest thing he ever said to me. I’m still saying extra ones for you and Jeff.

    • Marlene, remember the unofficial title of this blog is “we digress” (a nod to Raynard) and besides, you are giving us a different perspective on a conversation K and I had in the comments this past week. Yes, it is possible to go fast and be safe, as my hubby always insists– and yes, he agrees with you that speed limits are suggestions. I think it all depends on the motive for driving fast. If it’s a type A, “get-out-of-my-way-I-count-more-than-you” mentality, or a frenzied rush to get somewhere (even when there is no deadline) it can just escalate to a dangerous point. But some people get out on the open road, in car or bike, or even running, as a form of relaxation. In my college years I used to go out riding sometimes with a friend of mine who just liked to get out into the country and drive for fun. She drove so fast that my friends said she scared them, but I never remember being scared by her driving, because she seemed so intentional with it, so in control of herself. I think it’s the lack of control and the “rage” aspects that are so dangerous. I loved what you said about “that 7000 pound deadly weapon” which is what it is, but so many people seem to forget that. I look on driving a car as being similar to holding a loaded gun, except that one can accidentally kill many more people in a single mistake with a car, than with a gun. I have no particular fondness for either tool, and a healthy respect (fear) for what happens when they are used carelessly, foolishly, or by people who have no business with them. Having said that, I feel fortunate to have a car when I need to get somewhere. 😀 And you are right that if courtesy is the first consideration, the safety issues will take care of themselves. Thanks for the extra ones, we still need and appreciate them!

      • It’s a funny thing. When I get in a car, I say a prayer out loud. Lord, let us not hurt one another or anything by the way. I have two angels pinned to my visors. I know those people that drive fast and angry. My sister is one of them and she used to drive the city bus.:( Scary, always scary. I’ve learned that time will expand or contract according to need so I’m never in a hurry. I do however always look for open space away from the parade. Because of my vision limitations, I’ve made it a point to be constantly aware of what everyone around me is doing. I can read car body language and know ahead of time what another driver is going to do. I’m not much good for conversation in a car. Like you, I’m grateful to have one to get where I need to go but really do not enjoy driving. Always being aware of the potential for harm takes the fun out of it for me. I do an awful lot of praying there. More than I ever did in church.:) So off I go to the grocery store only 3 miles away. I park at the back of the lot. Those people are crazy to get a front of the door spot. 🙂 And I drive a beast. Have a smiley day and know we are thinking of you and your family.

        • Marlene, I love what you say here: “I’ve learned that time will expand or contract according to need so I’m never in a hurry.” It’s a funny thing that I’ve noticed in my own life; to paraphrase a famous saying, whether I think I have enough time, or not enough, I am right. Just as we can see time as being adequate, some of us (and I’m afraid I often fall into this category) see time as ALWAYS being inadequate. It took me quite awhile (and some helpful observations from a friend) to realize that it’s possible to be just as greedy about time as about any material commodity. More so, in fact.

          I also like the idea of “car body language.” And I too pray far more in locations outside of church than I have ever prayed inside church. Talking about people who are crazy to get a front door spot…do you ever wonder how many of these same people drive to a fitness center so they can walk in place on a machine? 😀 I’ll try to have a smiley day today — you do the same — and thanks for being here shining! ❤

          • That vision of people rushing to get to a fitness place to walk in place cracked me up. Thanks for my smile today. :)) I taught my kids to watch the driver of the other cars and they could see indecision or a movement one direction or other. It’s just constant awareness behind the wheel. Have a lovely weekend ahead. Actually, when I think about it, this is the only moment we really have. Enjoy that. Hugs.

            • 🙂 ❤

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