On many days, during these strange times. I have found myself walking across the fields and along the banks of the stream, which rises in the Blackdown Hills and flows down through Pitminster, over the waterfall at Staplehay, through Trull, Sherford, Vivary Park and onwards through a culvert under the A38 and The County Court and eventually joins up with the River Tone near the museum.
Surrounded by a choir of birdsong, much wild garlic, cow parsley and an ever increasing amount of buttercups and green foliage and sometimes the occasional cow coming for a quick drink (but no sightings of any otters yet!) and always in the background the gentle trickle of the stream.
I’m reminded of times as a child, growing up in a village in rural Dorset, when endless Summer days were spent dangling an empty jam jar into the River Piddle in an attempt to catch a stickleback, or else making great efforts with friends to construct a raft that would actually float when you stood on it!
Rivers and streams, I think are reassuring places for the soul (if you leave aside for the moment those devastating stories of flood water earlier this year). Certainly rivers are mystical places in literature and culture. The image of a river is very biblical too. As the image of water and even a stream pervades scripture. The Bible begins with a river in a garden and ends with a river in the heavenly city of God. There are endless references to water, to streams, to springs and to fountains. Often the life of God is likened to a fresh spring and the water of the Holy Spirit wells up within us and there is the comfort.
So today even if you can’t visit a stream, sit quietly and use your mind and imagination to reflect. Allow the constancy of the flow of the river to be an image for the life of God that constantly abides in us and carries us along. It can be a calming and a healing thing to do.
There are so many songs and hymns that “spring” to mind!……….Down to the river to pray……Let your living water flow………….By the Waters of Babylon…………..
Have a good day.
Rev Jenny Jeffery