Soft and Strong: Notes on Water


Francis Picabia, “Crashing Waves”

I. ”Water nourishes and soothes us. But this same stuff also carved the Grand Canyon out of solid rock over the course of millennia, and every day thunders down with unimaginable fury at Niagara and Victoria Falls.”

II. ”One of the roots for the word ‘water’ comes from the Sanskrit ‘apah,’ meaning ‘animate,’ something that gives life.”


James Whistler, “Nocturne, the Solent”

III. “There is nothing softer and weaker than water. And yet there is nothing better for attacking hard and strong things.”     Lao Tzu


Leonardo da Vinci’s water powered gyroscopic compass

IV.”For Leonardo [da Vinci] water was the ‘vehicle of nature’ (‘vetturale di natura’), the driving force behind all natural things. He was obsessed with it.

Water, he reasoned, was the fluid that transported nutrients around the Earth, feeding plants and fields, just as blood … nourished the organs of the human body.”

V. “Water is sometimes sharp and sometimes strong, sometimes acid and sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet and sometimes thick or thin, sometimes it is seen bringing hurt or pestilence, sometime health-giving, sometimes poisonous. It suffers change into as many natures as are the different places through which it passes. And as the mirror changes with the colour of its subject, so it alters with the nature of the place, becoming noisome, laxative, astringent, sulfurous, salty, incarnadined, mournful, raging, angry, red, yellow, green, black, blue, greasy, fat or slim. Sometimes it starts a conflagration, sometimes it extinguishes one; is warm and is cold, carries away or sets down, hollows out or builds up, tears or establishes, fills or empties, raises itself or burrows down, speeds or is still; is the cause at times of life or death, or increase or privation, nourishes at times and at others does the contrary; at times has a tang, at times is without savour, sometimes submerging the valleys with great floods. In time and with water, everything changes.” Leonardo da Vinci

VI.”If I were called in

To construct a religion

I should make use of water.


Going to church

Would entail a fording

To dry, different clothes;


My liturgy would employ

Images of sousing,

A furious devout drench,


And I should raise in the east

A glass of water

Where any-angled light

Would congregate endlessly.”

Philip Larkin, “Water”


Tinguely Fountain in Basel, Switzerland

All quotes have been taken from The Water Book by Alok Jha.


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18 Responses to Soft and Strong: Notes on Water

  1. Don says:

    I remember standing and looking down into the Grand Canyon and being amazed at the role water played in shaping it. Something so soft, as described in your post, Monika, doing something so powerful – a kind of lesson in persistence and focus. Once again a wonderful post.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. herongrace says:

    Interesting Monika. My first thought was of Scorpio’s powerful primordial waters and realising I really don’t know enough about it in the elemental sense and really should investigate it more.
    I watched a show on t.v. other day of a beautiful modern house being built and theowners wanted to install a large metal piece with small shapes cut out to allow sunlight to fall on a wall inspired by the effect of sunlight falling through the leaves of a tree. They did not want to burn the metal so they used high powered water forced through a hose and adjustable tool to cut out the shapes in the metal.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hope you have a great Scorpio New Moon today! To be honest, that book on water I quoted from was just too scientific (i.e. dry) for me. You should not be dry when you write about water 😉 But if someone is looking for information in the elemental sense as you put it then it is a perfect read. It was interesting to find out that scientists still do not know how water got to the earth. Did it come from space (the asteroid belt – I like that theory because it makes me think of asteroid goddesses) or did it appear gradually on the earth due to some chemical reactions?

      Liked by 1 person

      • herongrace says:

        Thank-you Monika. A wonderful regenerative new moon to you too!
        I did readings yesterday for people and the Phoenix showed up a few times which was lovely to see.
        I find geological facts around the signs of water weathering interesting as in the lines it etched running down the Sphinx, indicating a wetter climate there many years ago, and the fascinating signs of where there was the possibility of rivers in channels found on other planets such as Mars.
        It raises questions on what these places may have been like a long time ago. There is the possibility that maybe Mars was once habitable but it slowly lost its atmosphere and all its water.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. anitashree says:

    I love freaky cool things:
    1. My first blog visit was to Sue (SueDreamwaker) and I loved the pictures of the sea/bay that she took…it was expansive and just breath giving!
    2. Second blog visit, you talking about water
    3. I’ve been working on drinking more water as well!

    That description of water by Da Vinci…that is just like being a human..and that shouldn’t be surprising because we are mainly made up of water too!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I believe still water is natural driving force for each and every movement of nature.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Leeby Geeby says:

    Yes , brilliant post. Watery kidney yoga asanas did wonders for me recently. Not a day goes by when I don’t express the deepest gratitude for having a decent water supply.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I really enjoyed this post. There truly is something elemental and fascinating about water.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jeff Japp says:

    Catching up on posts. Water is such a powerful symbol for me. One of my favorite meditations is to sit beside water and gaze into it, watching the ripples and allowing them to gently shift my consciousness. But water is also powerful. Just stand and watch the waves crash against the shore.

    Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!


    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for this beautiful and power packed post. It is filled with
    curious and fascinating information on this amazing resource and
    creative commodity. Have a peaceful day!

    Liked by 1 person

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