Water

quiet lake with boatA pond may lie quiet in a plain; but a lake wants mountains to compass and hold it in. —Joseph Addison

Only a fool tests the depth of the water with both feet. —African proverb

Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams—they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do—they all contain truths. —Muhammad Ali

The marsh, to him who enters it in a receptive mood, holds—besides mosquitoes and stagnation—melody, the mystery of unknown waters, and the sweetness of nature undisturbed by man. —Charles William Beebe, Log of the Sun, 1906

The beauty of valley and hill,
And a river murmuring near,
That tumbles and rolls over mosses and stones,
Limpid and cool and clear.
—Charles Dent Bell

Ocean: A body of water occupying two-thirds of a world made for man who has no gills. —Ambrose Bierce

Water, air, and cleanness are the chief articles in my pharmacy. —Napoleon Bonaparte

If there is poetry in my book about the sea, it is not because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write truthfully about the sea and leave out the poetry. —Rachel Carson

O wise man! Give your wealth only to the worthy and never to others. The water of the sea received by the clouds is always sweet. —Chanakya

Enough shovels of earth—a mountain. Enough pails of water—a river. —Chinese proverb

We call upon the waters that rim the earth, horizon-to-horizon, that flow in our rivers and streams, that fall upon our gardens and fields; and we ask that they teach us and show us the way. —Chinook Indian Blessing

The true peace of God begins at any spot a thousand miles from the nearest land. —Joseph Conrad

The sea has never been friendly to man. At most it has been the accomplice of human restlessness. —Joseph Conrad

We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one. —Jacques Cousteau

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
It’s always our self we find in the sea.
—e. e. cummings

The sea pronounces something, over and over, in a hoarse whisper; I cannot quite make it out. —Annie Dillard

The cure for anything is salt water—sweat, tears, or the sea. —Isak Dinesen

All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again. —Ecclesiastes 1:7

To trace the history of a river or a raindrop . . . is also to trace the history of the soul, the history of the mind descending and arising in the body. In both, we constantly seek and stumble upon divinity, which like feeding the lake, and the spring becoming a waterfall, feeds, spills, falls,
and feeds itself all over again. —Gretel Ehrlich, Islands, The Universe, Home, 1991

Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war. —Loren Eiseley

If there is magic on the planet, it is contained in water. —Loren Eiseley

Praise the sea; on shore remain. —John Florio

When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water. —Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Poor Richard’s Almanac, 1746

Would that I were a dry well, and that the people tossed stones into me, for that would be easier than to be a spring of flowing water that the thirsty pass by, and from which they avoid drinking. —Kahlil Gibran

A river seems a magic thing—a magic, moving, living part of the very earth itself. —Laura Gilpin The Rio Grande, 1949

Water, like religion and ideology, has the power to move millions of people. Since the very birth of human civilization, people have moved to settle close to it. People move when there is too little of it. People move when there is too much of it. People journey down it. People write, sing, and dance about it. People fight over it. And all people, everywhere and every day, need it. —Mikhail Gorbachev

Everywhere water is a thing of beauty, gleaming in the dewdrop, singing in the summer rain. —John Ballantine Gough

Moving water . . . has a fascinating vitality. It has power and grace and associations. It has a thousand colors and a thousand shapes, yet it follows laws so definite that the tiniest streamlet is an exact replica of a great river. —Roderick Haig-Brown

To live by a large river is to be kept in the heart of things. —John Haines

A person should go out on the water on a fine day to a small distance from a beautiful coast, if he would see nature really smile. Never does she look so delightful, as when the sun is brightly reflected by the water, while the waves are gently rippling, and the prospect receives life and animation from the glancing transit of an occasional row-boat, and the quieter motion of a few small vessels. —Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

The trees reflected in the river . . . they are unconscious of a spiritual world so near to them.
So are we. —Nathaniel Hawthorne

I find myself at the extremity of a long beach. How gladly does the spirit leap forth, and suddenly enlarge its sense of being to the full extent of the broad, blue, sunny deep! A greeting and a homage to the sea! I descend over its margin, and dip my hand into the wave that meets me, and bathe my brow. That far-resounding roar is the ocean’s voice of welcome. His salt breath brings a blessing along with it. —Nathaniel Hawthorne, Foot-prints on the Sea-shore

Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think. —Robert Henri

You could not step twice into the same rivers; for other waters are ever flowing on to you. —Heraclitus of Ephesus

The many-voiced song of the river echoed softly. —Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha, 1951

Between earth and earth’s atmosphere, the amount of water remains constant; there is never a drop more, never a drop less. This is a story of circular infinity, of a planet birthing itself. —Linda Hogan, Northern Lights, 1990

What would the world be, once bereft of wet and wildness? Let them be left, O let them be left, wildness and wet; Long live the weeds and the wilderness yet. —Gerard Manley Hopkins

Don’t you realize that the sea is the home of water? All water is off on a journey unless it’s in the sea, and it’s homesick, and bound to make its way home someday. —Zora Neale Hurston

The underlying attraction of the movement of water and sand is biological. If we look more deeply, we can see it as the basis of an abstract idea linking ourselves with the limitless mechanics of the universe. —Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe

Water is also one of the four elements, the most beautiful of God’s creations. It is both wet and cold, heavy, and with a tendency to descend, and flows with great readiness. It is this the Holy Scripture has in view when it says, “And the darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Water, then, is the most beautiful element and rich in usefulness, and purifies from all filth, and not only from the filth of the body but from that of the soul, if it should have received the grace of the Spirit. —John of Damascus, Exposition of the Orthodox Faith

The sky broke like an egg into full sunset and the water caught fire. —Pamela Hansford Johnson

The deeper the waters are, the more still they run. —Korean proverb

My soul is full of longing
For the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean
Sends a thrilling pulse through me.
—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Secret of the Sea

To put your hands in a river is to feel the chords that bind the earth together. —Barry Lopez

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters. —Norman Maclean

When time comes for us to again rejoin the infinite stream of water flowing to and from the great timeless ocean, our little droplet of soulful water will once again flow with the endless stream. —William E. Marks

In Amsterdam, the water is the mistress and the land the vassal. Throughout the city there are as many canals and drawbridges as bracelets on a gypsy’s bronzed arms. —Felix Marti-Ibanez

Genius is a bend in the creek where bright water has gathered, and which mirrors the trees, the sky and the banks. —Edgar Lee Masters

Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries—stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. —Herman Melville, Moby Dick, 1851

Many a time have I merely closed my eyes at the end of yet another troublesome day and soaked my bruised psyche in wild water—rivers remembered and rivers imagined. Rivers course through my dreams, rivers cold and fast, rivers well-known and rivers nameless, rivers that seem like ribbons of blue water twisting through wide valleys, narrow rivers folded in layers of darkening shadows, rivers that have eroded down deep into a mountain’s belly, sculpted the land, peeled back the planet’s history exposing the texture of time itself. —Harry Middleton

Never a ship sails out of the bay
But carries my heart as a stowaway.
—Roselle Mercier Montgomery, The Stowaway

We let a river shower its banks with a spirit that invades the people living there; and we protect that river, knowing that without its blessings, the people have no source of soul. —Thomas Moore

All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was. —Toni Morrison

Take a course in good water and air; and in the eternal youth of Nature you may renew your own. Go quietly, alone; no harm will befall you. —John Muir

It is water, in every form and at every scale, that saturates the mind. National Geographic, October 1993

In the forests or beside rivers everything speaks to humans. —Pablo Neruda

Our bodies are molded rivers. —Novalis

The river moves from land to water to land, in and out of organisms, reminding us what native peoples have never forgotten: That you cannot separate the land from the water, or the people from the land. —Lynn Noel

Dripping water hollows out a stone. —Ovid, Epistulae Ex Ponto

Rivers are magnets for the imagination, for conscious pondering and subconscious dreams, thrills, fears. People stare into the moving water, captivated, as they are when gazing into a fire. What is it that draws and holds us? The rivers’ reflections of our lives and experiences are endless. The water calls up our own ambitions of flowing with ease, of navigating the unknown. Streams represent constant rebirth. The waters flow in, forever new, yet forever the same; they complete a journey from beginning to end, and then they embark on the journey again. —Tim Palmer

Rivers are roads which move, and which carry us whither we desire to go. —Blaise Pascal

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters . . . —Psalm 23:1-2

The sea hath no king but God alone. —Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The White Ship

We can’t help being thirsty, moving toward the voice of water . . . everyone hears the intelligent sound and moves with thirst to meet it. —Jeladuddin Rumi

Water, thou hast no taste, no color, no odor; canst not be defined, art relished while ever mysterious. Not necessary to life, but rather life itself, thou fillest us with a gratification that exceeds the delight of the senses. —Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand and Stars, 1939

What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well. —Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. You must give to the rivers the kindness you would give to any brother. —Chief Seattle

When you hear the splash of the water drops that fall into the stone bowl, you will feel that all the dust of your mind is washed away. —Sen-No-Rikyu

I have left almost to the last the magic of water: An element which, owing to its changefulness of form and mood and colour and to the vast range of its effects, is ever the principal source of landscape beauty; and has, like music, a mysterious influence over the mind. —Sir George Sitwell

I gave my heart to the mountains the minute I stood beside this river with its spray in my face and watched it thunder into foam, smooth to green glass over sunken rocks, shatter to foam again. I was fascinated by how it sped by and yet was always there; its roar shook both the earth and me. —Wallace Stegner

You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. —Rabindranath Tagore

The water in a vessel is sparkling; the water in the sea is dark. The small truth has words which are clear; the great truth has great silence. —Rabindranath Tagore

No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see. —Taoist proverb

To the lost man, to the pioneer penetrating a new country, to the naturalist who wishes to see the wild land at its wildest, the advice is always the same—follow a river. The river is the original forest highway. It is nature’s own Wilderness Road. —Edwin Way Teale

I chatter, chatter
As I flow to join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on forever.
—Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Brook, 1887

Water sustains all. —Thales of Miletus

Rivers must have been the guides which conducted the footsteps of the first travelers. They are the constant lure, when they flow by our doors, to distant enterprise and adventure; and, by a natural impulse, the dwellers on their banks will at length accompany their currents to the lowlands of the globe, or explore at their invitation the interior of continents. —Henry David Thoreau

A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. —Henry David Thoreau

The lakes are something which you are unprepared for; they lie up so high, exposed to the light, and the forest is diminished to a fine fringe on their edges, with here and there a blue mountain, like amethyst jewels set around some jewel of the first water—so anterior, so superior, to all the changes that are to take place on their shores, even now civil and refined, and fair as they can ever be. —Henry David Thoreau

The finest workers in stone are not copper or steel tools, but the gentle touches of air and water working at their leisure with a liberal allowance of time. —Henry David Thoreau

Most of us, I suppose, are a little nervous of the sea. No matter what its smiles may be, we doubt its friendship. —H. M. Tomlinson

It was a kind of solemn, drifting down the big still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn’t even feel like talking loud, and it wasn’t often that we laughed, only a little kind of low chuckle. —Mark Twain

The sound of the water says what I think. —Chuang Tzu

Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox: what is soft is strong. —Lao Tzu

In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water; yet for attacking that which is hard and strong, nothing can surpass it. —Lao Tzu

Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it. —Lao Tzu

When you put your hand in a flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come. —Leonardo da Vinci

Water is the driving force of all nature. —Leonardo da Vinci

In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time. —Leonardo da Vinci

If you gave me several million years, there would be nothing that did not grow in beauty if it were surrounded by water. —Jan Erik Vold, What All The World Knows, 1970

A pool is the eye of the garden in whose candid depths is mirrored its advancing grace. —Lousie Bebe Wilder

A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable. —William Wordsworth

Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither.
—William Wordsworth, Intimations of Immortality

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