I can't walk by a smallest creek without stopping. I think I must number among what Melville (or Melville's Ishmael--I'm not sure they're the same) calls "the crowds of water-gazers".

Like he says,

Say you are in the country . . . Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries--stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water . . .

When I happened upon the cliffs above this particular creek, there was a man and his dog down in the bottom, exploring Hole in the Rock Falls. It took me a while to find a way down through the cliffs--far too long, in fact, when I could have gone straight down (cliffs always look worse from above). But by delaying, I ended up reaching the creek well downstream from Hole in the Rock. So I had to work back up the creek, and thus was able to see a good part of it.

Delay brought added bonuses. The dog flushed a couple of deer, who came crashing up from the creek and passed not forty feet from me. And I ended up hiking an especially lovely stretch of trail twice, a stretch thick with cedar and carpeted with every variety of moss.

The little creek was actually more interesting above Hole in the Rock, where it had cut a slot into the bedrock:

Like Ishmael, I think that these little creeks prove that "meditation and water are wedded for ever." They come and go with the rain, and usually run dry in summer. But when we've had a little rain, they seem to say, "Om mani padme hum," and with a clairity that matches the water.

When I'm backpacking, I gather my evening water from such creeks. Some seminarians might dispute this, but I think that such creeks are as close to "living water" as I'm every likely to see here.

Still, it's not all about meditation. It's a two-edged experience. Melville is again instructive:

And still deeper the meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting, mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all.