Heidi Trautmann

Heidi Trautmann Column 37 - Let’s talk about Culture and …..Water ...

...Wasser – Eau – Aqua – Agua – Neró - Su


Water is one of the elements, the classic four elements being earth, water, air and fire and sometimes a fifth called Aether in ancient times. Sciences are built upon the basis of these elements, especially philosophy and we find them in Hinduism, Buddhism and other Asian beliefs and sciences with other elements added such as wood or metal, for example.

It is said that people - or even their grandparents - born near the sea would always try to get back to it just as people born near mountains feel lost when their eyes cannot rest upon a rocky skyline.

Water: it gives peace to my eyes and my soul. I have lived on a sailing boat for six years and know its moods, know of the longing to let oneself fall into the depths of deep blue when the sea is quiet and you can observe the patterns that light and water are knitting; and you ask the animals living in that fascinating eternity, unknown to you, what is it like down there? But I also know the sea in bad moods and what I learnt from it is a holy respect for its all governing power. Many countries are in constant fear of disasters caused by water. Water the life saver, water the killer.

Water in Poetry.  Cypriot Turkish poet Mehmet Kansu is proud of the fact that part of his name is  -su/water …..

Ode to Mesarya –

Hot valley where I knelt down so often

I saw two small white clouds

so close to the Earth.

Murmuring ‘su’  I am the second part of my name

I wished I could flow in this white pebbled stream bed.

I was told that the sea is also 'su'

but life in the sea is different.

My dreams went to the west of this island

where the watermoths were making love.

As a child I knew the colour of their bodies,

now I have nothing but wind left in the palm of my hand.

You were a marshy valley and I knelt down beside you

and in your lap trees grew by themselves.

I was the salt in your face.

Kansu,  2005


And here the excerpt of a poem by Gajanan Mishra

Water is a lover
Water is a fighter
Water is a crusader.
The Ganges and the Yamuna
And the Saraswati and
All the streams and rivers 
Of the world give
Water to purify us 
And we in return pollute them 
Care not to answer…..

Water is regarded holy in many religions, was definitely so in the ancient times: Remember we came from water, it is our mother, so to speak. Our body consists of about more than 65% of fluid matter. 75% of our globe is covered with water. Therefore in philosophy and all health matters water plays a vital part. Water the healer. Even horses are taken into a basin of water for healing purposes. The first question a doctor asks you when you have a problem is whether you have drunk enough water. Water birth is becoming very popular.

Water in the fine arts, in sculpture, there is even an art discipline called water sculpture; fountains in parks or as I remember in the 1950s and 60s we had water fountain concerts in cinemas before the show. Water as entertainment.


Water in Cyprus. Water is a constant hot topic in North Cyprus. Especially in summer in the true meaning of the word. Having seen the ambitious plans of Turkey to become one of the mightiest industrial states by cutting mountains apart I am having second thoughts about the water line laid to the island of Cyprus but we are in bitter need of that water. The legend of underground connections between Cyprus and Turkey is becoming true. There was the story of a girl in Turkey who went out to the river with a silver bowl and when she bent down to scoop some water from the river the bowl fell into the water and disappeared.  When the family some time later went to visit relatives living in Cyprus they saw the silver bowl so precious to them on the plate board, and they were told the story that the relatives’ girl had gone out to the brook in the valley and bending down found the silver bowl and they thought that finally luck has come to them.


Living on board of a ship we knew how precious water, here drinking water is; we only had 700 l on board and had to be very careful with the use of it; we washed ourselves in seawater with a special soap and I washed the dishes with sea water; perfectly clean, you just had to dry your body or the plates respectively very well. We made sweet water from sea water for drinking and cooking, it tasted very good, slightly salty which is good when you sweat a lot living in the open air. Ever since, now on land, I have continued to save water: I collect all water, incl. my dishwashing water in a big bowl in the sink and water my plants around the house with it, they love slightly soapy water; we soap our body first before we open the water tap in the shower; we have installed a pump in the third chamber of our septic tanks in the garden and water trees with the grey water. When I really have to wash my car, I use a broom or hand brush first to take the dust off, then wash the car by hand and only at the end I give it a short rinse.

Our flower beds are covered with mulch from tree branches and plant cuttings shredded in the winter months; it keeps the soil moist a little longer.

Consciously saving water makes you aware of life as such, of the luxury of having what we have and it makes us happier to live with all senses awake.

I have many times visited the African bush and desert and have seen the wonders that happen after a downpour of rain, the carpets of flowers that suddenly cover the dusty brown plains, animals that awake and rush out from their holes.

Water means life. And we do love life, don’t we?


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