“Please Svend, go down to the river, your whole body looks like it is falling apart”, said my wife this afternoon to me after I had done six hours of intense computer work. She knows what a walk along the Water of Leith can do to me, it is a refreshing and grounding experience that I do at least once a week.

“It is going to rain like it has done for three weeks now, but it is not so cold today”, she said with the knowledge of a tour guide in Edinburgh with January cold wind and rain pouring down since the end of March.

I left our apartment and walked along the Union Canal towards the aqueduct when the rain began its tip tap dancing on the water. And sure enough, it was spring rain today, not the winter rain we have had for the past weeks. And on the surface the grey male ducks were trying to do some courteous movements towards the brown females while the rowing squads were cutting the water surface like a breadknife in butter.

I walked onto the aqueduct and stood on the spot, where I could see the river. In the town people were complaining about all that rain dripping down from their umbrellas, but out here the Water of Leith was happier than I have ever seen her. Full of water was she and the splashing of the water had an element of roaring.

When I was standing there leaning over the railing and looking down into the brown water of the Water of Leith, I remember when I came to Edinburgh seven years ago. I was so frightened by any heights, of any little hillside that it had become a burden for my friends and family. First time I saw the aqueduct I frowned, and I was sure I would never come even close to go out and look down on that river like I did today.

When I came down to the river, I passed the little beach where I lost my lion made of iron. It was a lion my father gave me, and I am sad that I have lost my beautiful, powerful lion that once lost its tail when it fell from a table. I lost my lion two years ago when I was doing preparation for a storytelling performance about the Water of Leith. I spend many hours by the river and on a full moon night I decided to put my iron lion in the water and pick it up next morning. I was sure, my lion would have many stories to tell me standing a whole full moon night in the river.

In the morning my lion was gone. I sometimes think that the river needed my lion’s power to became like it is these days full of water and power. But the river is powerful now and it sounds a little bit like a lion with its roaring water. I think that the water spirit doesn’t really need my lion anymore. So whoever took my lion that very early morning, please put it back the same place where you found it.  I will come and pick it up and the river will be as happy as it was before.

I continued my walk, and the smell of garlic was everywhere. The small white flowers are in their bloom right now. In Danish these flowers are called ramsløg, like bad smelling onion. I do not agree, I love the smell.

I picked up a little stick and broke it into two small sticks ready to do the pooh stick with myself. When I came onto the little bridge over the water after the allotments, I stopped and found a place between the branches of the low hanging tree and dropped my two pooh sticks into the water. I could not as I normally do, drop the sticks so they end in the water vertically, today I had to drop them so they landed horizontally. One of the two sticks immediately speeded under the river and was the winner with no doubts. And it began its route towards Leith, the North Sea and maybe Denmark, why not. But no, suddenly it stopped its fast moving forward and made a turn towards the banks of the river and started a journey back to the bridge away from the current. At the same time the other stick, and still keep it in mind, that these two sticks not more than ten minutes before, was one stick, became visible under the bridge. I expected this slow stick, the looser of the pooh stick competition, to follow the same route as the winner, but no. When the looser met the returning winner, both stopped their movements, one upriver, one downriver and moved slowly very close together towards the banks of the river. I left them there, like two friends or lovers that just wanted to be together and couldn’t care about the law of nature and the current of a river.

I came to some of the not so inspiring part of the river. But then I could just remember my walks in the Pentlands Hills and my search for the source of the Water of Leith. And remember how I so many times have walked from Colinton to the Water of Leith visitor centre passing the old railway tunnel with some of my favourite artwork.

I stopped, I was beginning to be tired enough to go home to my wife and her soup. When I spotted a pond formed by the river. Ducks were very active this spring evening and there were a lot of movements in the water even though it wasn’t the normal current of the river. And then a little further and just before I went out into the street so I could catch bus 25 to connect me to bus 38 that would take me home, I saw the roaring, wild waterfall. It is not really a waterfall. It is manmade and just some concrete elements that the river shall pass, but for a Dane like me it is impressive. You don’t see that in the Danish åer.

The bus arrived, I found my way home and my wife’s soup was amazing. So now I am full of grounded energy thanks to my friend, the Water of Leith.