The river flowed, fully formed, it seemed, a barrage of gushing water, out from the wide mouth of a cave that was made out of ice. For some yards it was airborne, a tremendous arching spout, ablaze with the elemental forces of magical nature, and then it touched earth, and raced immediately between large boulders and grey splintered rocks, impatient, it seemed, to be off at the start of its journey. The water was breathtakingly cold. She could only endure it for seconds lapping her ankles. She scooped up a handful and drank.
After that, she found a large flat boulder for herself beside the river’s edge, and she sat up there to watch. Though she wore her new hat and her coat, and her socks and her skirt now, and though she had her blanket draped over her shoulders, yet still she shivered. The skin on her face felt freezing. Her breath came in smooth puffs of steam.
The longer she sat, cross-legged like that on her podium, the more her hips softened, so that finally her knees came down to meet rock, and her spine grew upright. Straightening, lengthening, her spine became tall and erect. Her belly was moving softly. Her hands rested in the warmth of her lap.
Suddenly, the great orb of the sun crested the wall of dark rock that rose up before her, and it brought with it a stunning pulsation of light, and the water glittered. The ice cave lit up like a beacon. When the light had built to an unbearable intensity, she closed her eyes. The substance behind her eyelids quivered. Inside her head was a blaze. Starburst behind her closed eyes. Crystal. Radiance. Light. The river had entered her soul.
She knew exactly what she would do. Enough of this lonely surrender! She wanted to live. She wanted to swim in the river of life. An end to negation! After a while, she told herself, after a long and blessed moment of peaceful quiet, she would take a hold of her bag, and hoist it onto her back, and make a start today for her friend in Benares.