Sleeping with the stream

I’ve always loved running water, always been drawn to paddle feet or hands in it, to sit near it, listen to it. Stroud is wonderful on that score, with its many small streams. There are even a few small waterfalls. I’m especially blessed in that I can hear water flowing, from my bed.

As a lot of my prayer and meditation practice happens around the edges of sleep, I’m very conscious of that space as an environment and I pay a fair bit of attention to how it impacts on me. Being able to feel a connection with the natural world, from the sacred space of bed, is powerful for me.

I’m conscious of a transition as I settle at night, as I cease to be sociable, and gradually stop thinking about whatever’s been running around in my head. I know I’m settling when I become aware of the stream, and every time this happens I also become aware of just how much I filter out with my waking perceptions. The stream has a music of its own, coming down from the hills and heading out towards the Severn River. As I listen, I have an awareness of water as life, water as cleansing, and moving water as a journey towards other worlds. Letting the stream carry me, I drift towards sleep.

Often, waking is initially a process of becoming consciously aware of the water. I often start to surface before the dawn chorus. Awareness that I am waking is often awareness that I am hearing the stream, that it is calling me back to the waking world.

Having lived on a boat, I am very aware that water is often silent. Moving water can be remarkably hard to hear, even when there’s quite a significant flow. What creates the sound is not just the movement, but the interaction between water and something else – plant matter on the bank, stones in the river bed. Mostly what I hear is water passing over a small weir. Where water passes for long enough, it smoothes a silent passage. Stand by the River Severn, and there’s surprisingly little sound. But then, nature is often busiest at the margins and the places of interaction.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

7 responses to “Sleeping with the stream

  • Aurora J Stone

    Edges of sleep . . . edges of water . . . edges of consciousness . . . edges where so many important insights and inspirations reach us. The beach heads of the soul, where the waters of our unconscious meet the shifting sands of our awareness. We flow and float between the embankments; we ebb and flow with the tides. In inner focused meditation and in outer-tuned awareness these edges upon which we pause and walk provide us the visions and perceptions that allow us to live and keep us sane in the process.

  • catchersrule

    The edge of sleep tends to make me nervous these days, like I’m going to fall off a cliff or something worse:( I haven’t been wholly sure why it happens, why I go through these stretches. I get sensations like I’m moving when I know I am not, and that bothers me – or else I just get nervous. I found your entry to be ironic therefore, at least for just now. I can look at this objectively and think, “all right, I’m nervous about the sensation of moving because it’s beyond my control – or at least, actual movement in that sense would be. And I HATE things not being in my control.” All the same, there it is. Yet… I’d like the peace of a river. I do need some sort of sound, something regular, to be able to calm and go to sleep. That’s unfortunately often the TV turned down low. Nonetheless, it – usually – helps with the unsettling sensations I get.

    • Nimue Brown

      This may not be comforting, but that falling off a cliff thing, the physical jolt is, I believe, your heart stopping and restarting. It sounds to me like you’ve got a lot of stress in your body, you might find that more physical activity to clean out the stress toxins would help – and if that’s not viable, more water to drink can help flush things out. An unhappy body does not sleep well.

  • lornasmithers

    Living that so close to a stream you can hear it must be amazing, particularly different songs depending on rain fall, although possibly unsettling at times? My nearest stream is culverted beneath the gardens on the other side of my road. Yet there’s alot of underground water sources and I get a sense of them better when there’s been alot of rain.

  • lornasmithers

    I used to suffer badly insomnia and really appreciate now being able to sleep well, and those drifting edges where it’s possible to catch fleeting near-conscious glimpses of the dreamworld.

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