I stepped my toes into the water and time just disappeared. I had just moved across the country and would be living near the Delaware River. This was my first “hello” to the river since I’d arrived.

Often time seems to be rushing by. Or else everything is moving too slowly. Especially in winter time seems to slow down. Except that our schedules keep us running from one event to the next. In acupuncture theory, Winter is associated with the Water element. It’s funny how images of water come up when I think of being out-of-sync with the passage of time. “Drinking from a fire-hose” is what we say when feeling rushed and overwhelmed. “Pushing the river” is the feeling I get when I want the process to go faster than it does. The wonderful thing about water is that it does what it does in its own time.

In my first days after moving I was staying in a house right on the edge of the water. But things had been hectic and I hadn’t really taken a chance to feel the presence of this wide, slow, wise river. I woke up early one morning and felt drawn to go stand on the bank. It was a warm summer day and stepping into the water felt right. In fact, the gentle coolness of the water felt so good that I kept going. I walked right in to the water in my nightgown and laid back and floated. 

Overhead the clouds and leaves of the trees drifted slowly by as the gentle current eased me along at its calm pace. And time disappeared. I was at one with that pace. With the clouds, the leaves, the water and its current.

We’ve got a lot to learn from the Water element. We are lucky to have rivers nearby that can teach us many things. Take care of your Water element this winter season by tuning to the timing of life and finding your way to stillness and rest when you need it. Time will keep doing what it does.


photo credit: Karen Kirkpatrick