“Something in the Water” by Pim Wangtechawat
There is something in the water, they say.
From the moment the pandemic hit and we went into lockdown, I found myself standing at the edge of the water, trying to find a semblance of what that something might be…
Maybe it was a spirit or “a vibe”.
A strength that might help propel me forward in times of hardship.
A rushing — always rushing — kind of peace that I’d been searching for so badly.
A moment of stillness, perhaps.
I wish I had a definite answer.
All I know is that every time I left the water I kept wanting to return.
Living in my first flat in Edinburgh, the Union Canal became my constant companion.
But the Scottish waters far surpassed a local canal, or stream.
Once, I sank my feet into the sands of Portobello and felt the coldness of the tide as it swept over me.
During a getaway trip to the Isle of Skye, I dipped my hand into a fairy pool and walked in its waters while the Scottish rain fell upon me.
Now, almost daily I stroll through Dean Village or stop at St. Bernard’s Well…
I take a moment to contemplate the statue of the Goddess of Healing, with her left hand resting on the head of a snake, unafraid of its poison, while her right hand holds up a cup. She’s an image of overflowing calm and abundance. How I long to be like her. Brave. True. Steady. Her face turns slightly towards the sky, as if to say, “I am me. I am not afraid. I’ve got this”.
But the reality is that I am not her. I am rooted to this earth, flesh and blood, not carved in marble. I am plagued by fears. As 2020 begins to wind down and the whole world continues to burn in chaos, I stand by the water, look up at the Goddess, and wish for the days I will live beyond the fear.
Hemingway once said, “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always ourselves we find in the sea”
There are depths to our fears, just like there are depths to who we are and the things we feel.Like the water that I see so often on my walks, our emotions can sometimes be both ferocious and intricate, full of tiny little details that we have yet to explore or understand.So, I keep returning to the water, hoping, and searching. And as I watch it flow away, I imagine it pulling my fears away with it.
I don’t know what it is. Perhaps, I never will. I just know there is something in the water.
Pim Wangtechawat is a writer from Bangkok, Thailand. She is a graduate of the Creative Writing MA program at Edinburgh Napier University. As a freelance writer, her articles about cinema, television, and culture have been published among various websites and literary journals, including the Mekong Review, the Nikkei Asian Review, and Yes Poetry. Pim has also performed her poetry at events in Edinburgh hosted by Shoreline of Infinity, Typewronger Books, Inky Fingers, and the Scottish BAME Writers Network.
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