The river and the desert
A river that originated in the distant mountains crossed landscapes of all kinds and shapes and finally reached the sands of the desert.
Like every other obstacle it had overcome, the river tried to overcome this one too,
but as it flowed through the sand, its waters disappeared. He was still convinced that it was his destiny to cross this desert, even if there was no way to do so.
Then a hidden voice whispered, coming from the desert itself: “The wind crosses the desert, so can the river”. The river objected that it had thrown itself violently into the sand, with the only result that it was sucked up by it, whereas the wind could fly and therefore cross the desert.
“If you throw yourself as violently as you are wont to do, you will never get to the other side:
you will disappear and become a bog. You must let the wind carry you to the other side, to your destination.”
“But how can that happen?”
“By letting the wind carry you.”
The river could not accept such an idea. After all, he had never been absorbed before.
He did not want to lose his individuality, and once he had, how could he know if he would ever regain it?
“The wind,” said the sand, “has this function. It lifts the water upwards, carries it across the desert and then lets it fall back down again. When it rains, the water becomes a river again.”
“How can I be sure that’s true?”
“It is, and if you don’t believe it, you will become nothing but a swamp, and even then it may take many, many years; and you will certainly never be a river again.”
“But can’t I remain the same river I am now?”
“You cannot under any circumstances,” said the Whisperer.
“Your essential part will be carried far away and form a river again.”
Hearing this, a distant echo reverberated in the river’s mind. Vaguely he remembered a state in which he – or a part of him – had been carried in the arms of a wind. And he also remembered – or had?- that this was the only true thing, even if he was afraid.
So the river lifted its vapour into the arms of the wind, which blew it gently and easily upwards, carrying it far away, only to let it fall gently back as they reached the top of a mountain, many, many miles away. And because he had these doubts, the river could now better remember and hold on to the details of the experience.
The river learned. And the sands whispered, “We know because we see it day after day, and we, the sands, reach from the river to the mountain without interruption”.
That is why they say in the Middle East that the path by which the river of life must continue its journey is written in the sands.
A prophetic embrace