A white stone. I saw it from the corner of my eye and heard its silent call. My hand reached, then I hesitated. Was I allowed to pick up these stones that littered the riverbed? I stretched my arm overhead, a camouflage maneuver, as I glanced at the others in my group. I didn’t see anyone else picking anything up so I flexed my fingers, circled my wrist and lowered my arm to my side. Nope, not reaching for stones. Lifting my camera, I clicked several photos of the silvery water in front of me.
The sun was inching up, about to crest the craggy foothills of the Himalayas. Golden pink light filtered past the sharp peaks and shimmered along the smooth water of the Ganges. Our group moved toward the water, as if in answer to an invitation from the rising sun. Some wandered left, others right. I followed a small group closer to the bank, taking photos as I went, mesmerized by the mountains reflected in the water as the sun continued its climb. At the edge of the water a group of birds perched, also waiting for the day to break. We disturbed them as we approached and they soared upward, settling further down the river to greet the day without intrusion, nature in communion with nature.
I took off my shoes and stepped into Mother Ganga, this goddess river, considered a holy and living deity in the Hindu tradition. Cool and soft she gently caressed my feet, swirling around my ankles. Beneath me mud squished between my toes and I allowed myself to sink into the sand, the moss, the earth saturated with water.
Face lifted to the sun I closed my eyes, light and warmth penetrating my lids, my heart, my soul. A morning meditation…
Maa Ganga, most sacred of rivers, holy water, silvery Goddess, wash over me, wash through me, open me to all that is sacred and beautiful. I turn my face to the rising sun, soaking in the heavenly rays of early morning, and I am thankful to be here, in this place, at this moment. I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, and I trust that this day will bring me all that I need. Om Shanti
The low murmurer of voices brought me back to the river and I opened my eyes, kneeling to dip my hands into Maa Ganga, breathing in the freshness of the new day. Rising I turned to leave, noticing as I did that others around me had chosen special river rocks to mark this sacred time together on the banks of the Ganges. As I made my way to the path up the hill, I saw the white stone, unnoticed by the others, waiting for me. I picked it up and brought it home. Today it rests on my altar, a silent yet potent reminder of a sacred time and the wonder of the sunrise.
Have a blessed day.