God of Water
Deep within the cavernous, multi-layered waters of the ocean trench I lie still and slumbering, unaware of the eons of silent time that have passed since my body became peaceful once again. A warm, soothing current washes through me, encouraging and full of promise, but daring me to rise through its balmy, turbid structure. Like a brave and foolish child I confront the challenge oblivious to the dangers within the trial, naive but bold.
My ancient molecules remodel and transform into a vast primordial shape, fluid and mobile but unchanged since the dawn of the earth when the sterile seas moved listlessly in the shadow of the moon. I feel the pressure lessen with every heaving swell of my graceful body, increasing in volume as I expand suddenly from the shallows into the salty air.
Leaving behind the sanctuary of the abyss I rise above the ocean's skin and I turn from clear to dark, threatening and ominous in a world where the innocent air blows free and clean above the raging tides and furious waves. I'm bigger now, and impatient to pour my watery scorn upon the dry land where the trees grow thickly and where the shore's winds blow gentle puffs of sand around the ancient rocks. I spread myself out, thinner but no less energetic, the fullness of me leaking from tiny fissures beyond the supple edges of my spirit.
The land is low here, flat but scarred by quartz-veined rock and the tilted sediments of ancient swamps. It's easy for me to let go of a part of myself, to allow some of my water to trickle on to the sun-parched land and the baked mud. I allow my skin to drip, but just enough. The leakage is no more than a saturated version of myself, misty and thick like a cloud. I look down and around at the ground as it swirls about and fades below the leaden air, the moisture finds the cool sea and condenses into a dense fog. And the land, I see the green leaves of life lift themselves, my rain filling their thirsty roots and stems with long-awaited water.
I move from the dry lands higher to the foothills of coarse grass and shrubby trees, my mists drain themselves more quickly now, and the rain forms tiny rivulets in the soil that trickle and join together as they tumble down between the knolls and rocky outcrops. I can see upwards towards the lonely vastness of the pale, blue sky, empty of all but colour. And I see the mountains, long ago borne from the world in cataclysm, now black and majestic against a brooding sunset. I ready myself for the altitude that will drain most of my life in torrents and surge down the barren slopes in drowning waterfalls. I gather myself from the verges of my form, packing the mists into dark clouds that tumble and drop in stormy cataracts, my foggy blanket turns deep and dense with its journey upwards to the tops of the world.
I'm here now, as high as I can go, one hand touching the fingers of heaven, the other cradling the cracked and fissured summits. The temperature is low enough for me to easily relinquish what's left of my body, and I spill everything in one great calamitous heave. The rain floods the air and washes the dust from the leaves of the succulent alpines that nestle among the jagged rocks and scree. And it spills in cold chutes between the granite boulders, washing away the meagre feldspar soil down and into the porous rock below. I am spent.
Empty and exhausted I glide downwards along the sharp ridge that ties the peak to the lowlands, what remains of my watery blood bleeds into the dark shadows where the suns reach never warms the air. The rain turns cold, and then to sleet, but it never finds its way to the ground, instead it rises sharply into my cold clouds where concentric layers of ice form and reform into solid lumps that bounce and flick about. This gloomy side of the world is just its brother's sinister spirit, a ghost of the lush, fertile slopes where I fall as warm rain. Here, I am cruel, but still sensitive to the life that thrives under my unforgiving monsoon. Thick-leaved and dark green, the plants here are tough and resilient, wind-swept away from the storm, shrubby and squat.
Deep in the verdant valley I am now perfectly still, the rivers of my body plummet down the angled slopes that lead from the cold peaks. But the waters have left me weak, sapped of energy, drained. And so I look again to the clear blue sky where I will find the strength to become whole again. The heat of the day forces me up, faster than my body can bear, but again I feel myself fill with distilled waters from the rivers that now fan out as a shallow estuaries. I watch the flow as it leaches sluggishly into the sea and I let it go with pride and grace.
Now high in the atmosphere, as far as it's possible to go without scattering myself among the stars and the black, dead spaces between, I look down upon the world where my work has given life and moulded the landscape into green hills and fertile valleys. I can see the elusive rainbows, hidden but for my rains. And I can see the black, tumultuous clouds that I've seeded into the heated chaos of the evening sky. And I watch the spinning vortex where parts of me have become unrestrained and furious. All these things I can see swirling and flurrying about the globe in random waves of energy that are a part of me.
The sun drops down behind the curve of the world and the amber light washes through me and beyond to the seas and hills. I gather more water from the air and track the light as it flows across the land towards the parched and burnt sands where the heat rises angrily into the dry skies.
There is little I can do here among the rock-strewn plains and the steep-sided canyons, my water lies deep beneath the ground. The force of me floats way up in the highest places between our world and space, enticing but tortuous to the lives beneath. The spin of the earth is too strong for me to resist and I skirt these places, leaving them waterless and barren. But, secretly, where the land dips and becomes thin, I see the lush palms and sharp grasses that have sprung from my blood. And I smile. I can give life a chance in these places too.
Sometimes, after the heaviest of my rains the land turns to every colour in the spectrum, thousands of painted blooms carpet the desert turning it from a featureless plain into patchworks of brilliant flowers that blush and tint the troubled ground. The deserts merge into grasslands where I allow little parts of me to fall gently on to the soil.
And then the grass turns woody where the soil thickens with decomposing debris from the autumn drop. I wring myself tighter so that I can slake the thirst of the sucking stems. Then I see the towering trunks and stag-horn branches of the giant tropical trees that grow tightly together, joining in a mantle of dripping green leaves way above the forest floor. I can feel the wetness rise through the jungle and I soak up the muggy air until I'm saturated again and ready to release. I'm hot again, the sultry air around me is unbearable but invigorating. The rain falls from me in torrents so violent the forest trembles and then bends under the weight of the water, but a life-giving fog forms around the thickets beneath, and the soil opens itself to soak up my water again.
This is where I'm happiest. Soaking the fertile ground and reabsorbing the humid fog that steams from the ancient trees. There is no greater feeling than giving and receiving, allowing the circulatory processes to feed the soils and plants that drive the earth's engine of life. I think my work is coming to an end for now, I need to allow the system to continue its toil alone for awhile so I can recharge myself and grow. The oceans beckon, I feel them summon me back to their deep, swelling depths where I'll rest in the knowledge that my power has shown the world the way. I gather myself and prepare to fly with the winds of the jet stream, but I have a long way to go until I return.
The high winds blow ferociously, cruelly tearing me apart so my moisture spins and falls away in icy stones and freezing curtains of rain. The sun has disappeared and darkness approaches from the curved horizon, the cumulus storm cleaves at me and ruptures the fabric of my swollen soul. The ruins of the disintegrating sky scatter and fade, plummeting down to the ground where the remnants of the tempest settle in a blanket of snow. I know that there is less of me now, my vigour is depleted and my waters have been thrown from turmoil to peace and back again too many times. I look down and this time the world is white.
The polar air is stinging, it cuts my body and leaves me tender and dry. All I can do here is fling petals of feathery frost down on to the frozen landscape where they land in drifts upon the ice-strewn fields and mountains. A lot of my life lies below, solid and unyielding on the glacial terrain, the effect of thousands of years of my work. I know why I've been here. I know the importance of the frozen lands and how my water joins with the ocean's currents. And I know how the planet needs me. But I must gather what little is left of my strength and find the place where I can be deep again.
I skim across vast lakes of brackish water, through dense screens of fog that swirl about me, thick and pure white. My body soaks some of the misty vapour but I travel too fast to allow it to replenish all that I've given. I know the steep slopes will drop the temperature enough to force the water from me and let it fall as rain on the rocky ground. It's needed here as it has been everywhere and I know the succulent cacti, living stones and Agave's will cherish what little remains within me. I can sense their shallow roots and rosette leaves sigh and then swell with the paltry drips that fall as fine drizzle.
I leave the world where the raging winds blow high above the pressured layers of air and I drop down to the seas where the languid currents run deep and cold. My body filters through the water and as I plunge deeper I let go of the freedom that has allowed me to pour myself upon the earth. This is where I will sleep until I'm called again to give my life-giving blood back to the planet.
I've left the world a better place. The forests grow tall and thick with ancient trees that draw from the humic, rain-soaked soils. Thorned and succulent plants grow on the thin, sandy plains of the arid deserts and the deep roots of scrubby shrubs search the wetness beneath.
Clear, fresh mountain streams stumble and trip over boulder-strewn slopes and unfold themselves among green plains and swampy fens. And still, restful lakes swell from the rivers that touch their shores.
I will travel again one day soon, but my journey will be changed by the currents and tides which spawn from the warming air that hugs the shell of a world struggling to breathe.