I awaken to the distant sound of rushing water, mesmerizing, haunting, evoking long-buried memories.
The sound bids me come nearer, so I begin to make my way. Moving slowly through thick forest, brambles and underbrush, I am listening with unwavering attention to the beckoning music of the stream.
Finally emerging into a clearing I am struck silent by the majesty of the slowly moving water.
The source of the stream is burbling pure and clear from deep within the earth on my left side. To my right I see the widening of the flow. In that widening people are swimming, basking in delight. As if without any cares in the world, perfectly content to be in the water, freely moving as they please.
Then I notice these people are not only swimming, but singing.
Some are simply floating, others frolicking about, others diving and rising, but all are joined in a song of ever-changing and ever-rising harmony.
I realize the call of the stream, which I have been hearing ever since awakening, will not be fulfilled until I, also, enter the river. And enter into the song.
At this thought, fear grips my heart. My feet are locked, unmoving.
How can I trust the waters will not submerge me, and carry me to my death? I don’t wish to drown this day! I simply want to listen and enjoy the sounds all around me. Why does life demand I must enter the water too?
Just then a pair of swimmers pass gracefully by, singing together in harmony. Laughing in between rounds of their song, they appear completely at ease and enjoying themselves. They wave to me as they pass.
Okay, I think. Maybe it isn’t so dangerous. Perhaps I could enjoy myself in the river, even if only for a few moments. And if I stay within easy reach of the riverbank, then at any time I can safely pull myself out.
With that somewhat appeasing thought, I take one cautious step into the river. The feeling of the moving water on my body instantly energizes me, and also encourages me to take another step.
I can now hear the singing even more clearly, in a song that seems so familiar as if I’ve always known it. I open my mouth and allow the first sound to come out only to soon find myself joining into the song that everyone is singing.
What an exquisite sensation it is! I take another step into the river until only my head is visible above the water. The singing has grown stronger, and I am now aware of people all around me, as if to welcome me into the flow.
I let go of the need to be in control, and find myself floating on my back, gently moving downriver, with people on either side singing.
I can still see the riverbank, not so far away, but no longer have a need to grab for it. The fear, which had only moments before been paralyzing me, was gone.
And in its place was a growing joy, an aliveness I hadn’t felt in years, a sense of homecoming I wasn’t even aware that I was missing.
And now, here in this homecoming, here in this river of song, I continue to float, and continue to sing.