If you take some time to stand by a large river and just observe it for several minutes, you will go through a truly relaxing experience, or at least that’s how it was for me on several occasions, such as the one I lived when I visited the wonderful Cozia Monastery from my country, Romania. There I discovered a platform which allowed me to stand, or even sit on a bench for a while, right on the edge of the majestic Olt river, one of Romania’s most impressive bodies of water.
In the crazy world in which we live today, it is great to find an oasis of peace and serenity, where you can detach yourself from your worries and rediscover the beauty of nature from which unfortunately we’re more and more estranged. Although I don’t necessarily enjoy quietness for too long I think I could have stayed there for hours without getting bored.
As you admire the silent and majestic waters of the river, a state of calmness and peace with the inner and outer world takes possession of your heart and soul. Your mind wanders through time and space, it flows at the same pace as the water does, while you reflect upon your life and you search for its deeper meanings.
Just as below the surface of the water there is a hidden world, full of mysterious and wonderful creatures, so is the inner world of your soul, and the quietness of the river may offer you the perfect background for a getaway, an escape from the surface of this superficial and hectic world into the deepest and less accessible corners of your spirituality.
However, rivers aren’t always that peaceful. When they change their mood from serenity to anger, reflections upon the meanings of life are the last thing in people’s minds, as fear is the dominant feeling you feel when you see the unleashed waters in action. Just a few weeks after my visit to the Olt Valley there were some heavy rains in that part of the country which sadly led to devastating floods. The usually tranquil waters have turned into massive and scary torrents that swept out everything in their path.
Once again Mother Nature reminded people that they can’t control it. Therefore, whenever I go by the side of a river, I watch it with a mixture of admiration and fear: it can offer some pretty astounding views and fill our hearts with serenity, but it can also unleash its fury with terrible consequences for humans. Powerful and destructive, but also calm and invigorating: that is the dual nature of a big river that never ceases to amaze me!