The Wonder in the Color of Water

By KM Huber

There is such wonder in the color of water for it “…takes on the image of the entire world without ever losing its essential clearness,” whether it is a drop in an ocean, a riffle in a mountain stream, a puddle newly born of rain. (Mark Nepo).

In any given moment, the color of water is steel-gray, sky-blue, moss-green or dirt-brown for water easily embraces the colors of any obstacle anywhere, as the nature of water is to embrace, while its essence remains ever clear.

Washing over stones, roaring over a cliff to drop thousands of feet, or raining in torrents, it is the nature of water to take on any landscape for as long as necessary, even eons to fill a desert basin as a great salt lake. The nature of water is transparency for no one color ever stays, and no one outcome is preferred.

Like water, our essential nature is to “…embrace everything clearly without imposing who we are and without losing who we are” (Mark Nepo). It is the nature of human compassion to take on any event, no matter its color, for as long as necessary.

The highest good is like water.
Water gives life to the ten thousand
things and does not strive

~Lao Tsu~

It is not easy for us to take on the color of any experience for our nature is not the nature of water, even if our bodies are more water than tissue and bone.

We are concerned with the image we present to the world—whether or not it reflects our true nature—for it is an image thoughtfully prepared, somewhat opaque, designed to reflect certain colors in certain situations. It is how we survive in the larger current of human nature.

Often, it is easier to remain within the current of human nature, whether or not that is who we actually are, for we are not water gouging the landscape, unaffected by changes in our lives. Yet the nature of water is compassionate for it does not strive but “gives life to the 10,000 things” as the Tao teaches us.

Water is constant to the current that flows through all life–whether as a stagnant pool or massive flood—in all, water remains true to its essence, its role, which is so much more than any color it takes on or change it makes.

Like the nature of water, we are more than any image we reflect or action that we take. In each moment, we have the opportunity to be just as we are—our true essence—reflecting an embrace so similar to the nature of water.

Unlike the nature of water, we are not always totally present in our lives. Our levels of consciousness are not the same for we are aware of the flow of our individual natures within the current of human nature. We have the ability to think and plan.

We tend to attach to extraordinary or ordinary obstacles but the nature of water teaches us not to stay the color of those obstacles but ultimately run true and clear to who we are in the current of human nature.

Beneath the clouds, water desires only to flow, and beneath our tensions and problems, the human spirit wants only to embrace and soften” (Mark Nepo).

The nature of water is a compassionate one, reflecting as colors of the day. We are and are not water. Like water, we embrace our world; unlike water, we choose the nature of that embrace.


KM Huber is a writer who learned Zen from a beagle. She believes the moment is all we ever have, and it is enough. In her early life as a hippie, she practiced poetry, and although her middle years were a bit of a muddle, she remains an overtly optimistic sexagenerian, writing prose. She blogs at kmhubersblog.com, may be followed on Twitter @KM_Huber or contacted by email at writetotheranch@gmail.com.

© 2013 KM Huber. All content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact me at the above links to request permission.

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