In the Flow

Following on from the watery theme of my last post (Strand Lines), I would like to share some more ‘watery’ insights from my pilgrimage with Tommy.

  • Chapter six of The Rainbow Ribbon Way relates to the Sacral Chakra, the colour ‘orange’ and the element of water.  The Sacred Value of Water: Purification, Protection and Healing, therefore, becomes the theme for the heading essay.

The route for the Rainbow Ribbon Way was mapped out to avoid major arterial roads and find safe places to cross our hundreds of rivers, brooks, streams, reservoirs, dams and leats, including the drove roads over the Somerset Levels and the odd bog we stumbled into over the moors.  It becomes primarily, a journey of water crossings.  

The fords alone ranged from a trickle of water over pebbles to one flood-swollen torrent where Tommy momentarily looses his footing and disappears completely from view beneath me, submerged in the murky waters below.   

We have walked across Victorian suspension bridges that sway gently with the momentum of our steps, the rushing water clearly visible below us between gaps in the wooden planking; iron bridges where iron horse shoes clatter over big metal sheets – iron on iron – or step gingerly onto the metalled deck of the King Harry ferry to cross the Fal River at the Carrick Roads.  All these watery places crossed in our journey from one island in the salty North Sea to another just offshore in the briny English Channel.

The names of this watery network alone conjure the spirit of these watery places:  Hashy, Thrang, Eden, Dove, Lambfold, Dundon, Somerton (see ‘Rivers Word Cloud’ above for a sample)……….the list goes on and is endlessly inspiring.  And that’s just the water we see above ground level.  Like the ebb and flow of water itself, these names may vary slightly over time as tribes speaking different dialects come and go.  But they are all rooted in antiquity and speak of an ancient landscape: the places where water, so vital for life itself, are places for gathering, refreshment and purification.