Random Wisdom: Let’s Be Like Rivers

Among the many ideas I collect for Improvised Life is a folder called Random Wisdom, notable hunks of wisdom that have come to me unexpectedly from someone I know or strangers I’ve overheard. I am so used to gathering quotes from known, famous humans, that it is especially wonderful to realize that ordinary people generate seriously good wisdom.

The other day talking to a friend about being more fluid in our lives, he said:

Let’s be like rivers.

A strangely perfect play on Be like a river. Rivers. More possibilities, his different than mine.

With the synchronicity that is commonplace at Improvised Life, shortly afterward Editor at Large David Saltman emailed me link about Water.Shapes.Earth, photographer Milan Radisics photographs of the way water has shaped our planet. Here are some of his photographs of rivers…

Glacial river estuary, Iceland by Milan Radisics

…each one different…

Glacial river veins, Iceland by Milan Radisics


Milan Radisics


…but with the same impulse of fluid movement in response to the moment….

The qualities of water are showing us
how we move inside grace. — Rumi

2 Responses to Random Wisdom: Let’s Be Like Rivers

  1. johanna 03.10.2019 at 3:22am #

    not to contradict, but rather to show how incredibly beautiful and complex something that seems random, actually is: what’s amazing is river flow isn’t random (nor i suspect, is our own behavior and movement, even though we think it is)…with rivers, it’s actually determined by forces around it, such as wind, soil, conditions, and for example, browsers and wolves. you may have seen this TED talk video, but it is just so beautiful, and important, and deep, that i’ll post it here anyway: https://blog.ted.com/video-how-wolves-can-alter-the-course-of-rivers/

  2. Sally Schneider 03.13.2019 at 9:31pm #

    I agree with you that the movement of rivers is determined by a great many forces, but the river makes its course in response to them (including wolves). The “random” was meant to indicate how that bit of wisdom came, randomly, unexpectedly, often overheard. But I could see how it might seem to indicate wisdom about randomness…

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