Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.
The babies have decided that this is their going to bed lullaby. If I try and sing anything else, say, Rockabye baby, or Hush little baby, don't you cry, or my own favourite, Bring me little water, Sylvie, they pop their heads up and insist, "Woe, Woe, Woe" in ever more urgent tones. So Woe, woe, woe it is, over and over and over again, until they both fall asleep.
Usually this takes about twenty minutes, but tonight, due to an unfortunate late afternoon car trip resulting in an unfortunate late afternoon nap, it took an hour. Seven til eight pm I spent singing Row row row your boat, over and over. It became like a meditation, like following my breath...innnnnn....and ooooouuutttt.... which I did for five days once, on a retreat. And I realised what incredible layers there are to that simple song, how it encapsulates wisdom of ages in its innocuous lines. A guide to life, all there in a child's rhyme!
Row, row, row: You have to be active, not passive. You'll need to do a bit of rowing in life - don't just sit there!
your boat: You can only row your boat, not anyone else's. Keep your mind on your own business.
Gently: There's no need to be frantic about it. Go placidly among the strife and turmoil of this world, etc
down: Don't bother fighting against the current. Take your natural path in life.
the stream: It's okay. It's a stream, not a raging torrent. You are safe.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily: Maintain optimism. It is what it is. It's a stream. You're rowing in it. Be happy about it.
Life is but a dream: This is the truly deep bit. Don't take it all too seriously, it's just a dream. Which poses the question, what do we wake up to, when we wake up from this dream that is life?