If she prayed to the river, would that mean that she had finally gone crazy? She wasn’t sure. She wasn’t sure at all. But she decided to do it anyway.
She chose her favourite spot to do it. The place that she had painted when she was learning watercolours. She had painted the silhouette of the trees against the setting sun, with just a hint of the busy docks on the horizon. She was pleased with the paintings, although they were a bit odd. In the first one she had painted the tree trunks with angular branches but had been unable to put any leaves on. The second painting had leaves, but she had only been able to include one tree. It was only the third painting that had all the trees and all the leaves. Yet each painting seemed complete.
So it was that spot that drew her when she decided to pray to the river. She knew exactly what she would pray for, she had a list in the back pocket of her jeans. She had given this plenty of thought.
The shingle stabbed into the soles of her bare feet. The feeling made her smile, it brought back a flood of happy memories from childhood. As she picked her way towards the water, the wet clay squidged between her toes. She gave out a delighted giggle. This was going to work. She knew it would.
Finally she stood in the chilly water, letting the tide lap around her ankles. Should she dip her fingers in the water and let drops baptise her face? This seemed the right thing to do, and to her surprise the tears started to flow. It was a relief, if anything it felt fresh and freeing.
Without looking at her list she began to recite her prayer. Had anyone seen her they may have thought she was decidedly odd, but luckily she only had a lone gull for company and he wasn’t interested in this strange woman. Not at all. Had he been listening he may have wondered at the cruelty of mankind that had led to this strange sight.
As it was, it was the wind that listened, that kissed her tears and whisked her sadness away. And the water, of course, showed no surprise. Because the water has been everywhere and seen everything, and nothing surprises it any more. So it just set to carrying out her wishes as best it could.
And once it had washed her past away, soothed her wounds, and pushed its energy up through her body, she turned back to face the shore and took her first, confident steps into her new future.