The Ripple: When I Jump into Your Flow

When I Jump into Your Flow

When I jump into your flow
You’ll take me wherever you go
ever you go, ever you go
You’ll take me wherever you go


We’re in one, and sucked into bigger flows that swept into bigger flows. And on and on. Minnows circling in eddies. In white water, stonefly nymphs cling to stone. Anadromous fish are making their way up whatever tributaries aren’t dammed, and being watched and counted at Holyoke and Turners Falls dams. Visit them, because their populations are declining and might soon vanish—just 397 Blueback Herring, for example, have passed Holyoke Dam as of May 21st.

We flow inside, our hearts pumping the water of life circularly throughout us. Blood is the sea from which we rise each moment; for not “only is blood mostly water, but the watery portion of blood, the plasma, has a concentration of salt and other ions that is remarkably similar to sea water.”

Our brains and heart “are 73%, and lungs are about 83%, water.

We are whooshed and whooshing even as we sit or stand, stranded sea polyps perspiring on couches: little, inside of big, flows. Our steaming breath, a little, inside of a big, wind emits, and thus admits, it.

Outside flow/inside flow: few experiences are more fulfilling than merging, and then emerging from, them.

Have you ever drifted leaf-like down a rainforest canyon, and loved it so much? The beginning of summer invites us to drift again, or for the first time. We have green rainforest canyons in the hilltowns (like the one I wrote about last month).

The best way to merge inner and outer flows, and our bodies with the “long body” of our biome, is to tubeless tube. Tubing is when you float down the river on an innertube. Tubeless tubing is when you float, feet first, chin up, in the river. I suggest wearing good river shoes and sturdy shorts that can handle occasional boulder bumps; the flow should be medium tempo and knee to hips high. Make sure that there are no hazards up ahead, like dams, fallen trees, rapids, water falls.

Walk into the middle of the flow, look downstream and sit down, instantly treading water to keep your head above the surface. It sounds hard, but it’s very easy. Breathe deeply to increase flotation. Try to extend your legs and keep your toes above water. Always keep your butt below you, nose pointed ahead or at sky. Lie back like a plank when you feel safe and look up. The trees lean over and wave their leafy fingers. A turkey vulture assesses your potential.

Let the flow take you wherever it goes: through sweet and peaty, soft water smells. Gurgling choirs, bass at the boulders, soprano in spray. The more you behave like a plank, the less you will find resistance. Soon enough, skin and river become indistinguishable—now’s the time to feelthink:

“I may be either the driftwood in the stream, or Indra in the sky looking down on it.”


Kurt Heidinger, Ph.D. is the Executive Director of Biocitizen, non-profit school of field environmental philosophy, based in the Western MA Hilltown of Westhampton, MA where he lives with his family.  Biocitizen gives participants an opportunity to “think outside” and cultivate a joyous and empowering biocultural awareness of where we live and who we are. Check out Kurt’s monthly column, The Ripple, here on Hilltown Families on the 4th Monday of every month to hear his stories about rivers in our region. Make the world of rivers bigger than the world of pavement inside of you!

[Photo credit: (cc) Billy Wilson]

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