Esther Raab
Translation: Emma Sham-Ba Ayalon

Being a flowing river
And not a lake that raises algae.
A river that displays from its banks
Old stones
Covered with moss and hyssop.
Gladly tearing off
Thin willow twigs.
Carrying them away
Toward a source.
Swirling beams of Wood
Gray dead
And drifting them off to the sea
And flowing on.
Because nothing is coming
Through it
But snow-water
From the heights of the mountains.

The river
A line of skyfulness
Is cutting the earth

The things that are found on the river bank
Are finding rest from the need
To be looked at

a drop of light
a place of prayer
What keeps things converged together?

In my dream
The sound of the rain drops
Is my daughter’s name

On the horizontal plane – a river
On the vertical plane – a ladder
The prayers are shed
The prayers are heard

I’m immersing
My whole attention
In a meandering line

I read in an astronomy book
On the compound of water
In it there is a burning element (hydrogen)
And an element that encourages burning (oxygen)
Many waters could not turn off
The burning of life

If nobody lives here
I will
Said Nature.

Glaciers are melting at the poles
Under every glacier
A large whale

A view of the river from above
Silence is inside
The roaring surge

The plants that grow
On the river bank
Point to all directions

From day to day
The eyes see
More in less

Ice crystals
Temporary eternity
Round water

A puddle on the edge of the river
Water draft
A human figure

My name is Emma Sham-Ba Ayalon. I am an artist, a poet and a Rabbi. During the last years I lived partly in the desert of Israel and partly in Tamera – a peace community in the south of Portugal. Nowadays I am traveling around the world with my partner. We are looking for where we are called to root ourselves on this beloved mother earth. I work as a therapist – giving spiritual support and specialised in guided visualisation and in accompanying the transition between life and death. My main passion is finding an artistic expression to the mystery of life. In the last two months I live in a small retreat house in Bulgaria by the Struma river. The river’s length is 415 kilometres and it crosses Bulgaria, Greece and Macedonia but I got to know only little portion of it in my morning walks. In this photo essay I invite you to share this intimate conversation that I had with the river.