By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept is a lyrical tale about the magical and mysterious power of God.
"By the river Piedra I sat down and wept. There is a legend that everything that falls into the waters of this river--leaves, insects, the feathers of birds--is transformed into the rocks that make the riverbed. If only I could tear out my heart and hurl it into the current, then my pain and longing would be over, and I could finally forget.
By the river Piedra I sat down and wept. The winter air chills the tears on my cheeks, and my tears fall into the cold waters that course past me. Somewhere, this river joins another, then another, until--far from my heart and sight--all of them merge with the sea.
May my tears run just as far, that my love might never know that one day I cried for him. May my tears run just as far, that I might forget the River Piedra, the monastery, the church in the Pyrenees, the mists, and the paths we walked together.
I shall forget the roads, the mountains, and the fields of my dreams--the dreams that will never come true.
I remember my "magic moment"--that instant when a "yes" or a "no" can change one's life forever. It seems so long ago now. It is hard to believe that it was only last week that I had found my love once again, and then lost him ..."
Thus begins the novel by Paulo Coelho, a internationally best-selling author from Brazil. His books, among them The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, The Valkiries and The Fifth Mountain--have sold more that 25 million copies in 117 countries, and have been translated into 43 languages.
By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept is a lyrical tale about the magical and mysterious power of God. The inspirational tale of faith, romance, miracles and the importance of following the heart's true path follows Pilar, a young woman from the Spanish countryside. Sparked by the teachings of a mysterious man she had once known and loved since her childhood, she leaves her graduate studies and embarks on a spiritual pilgrimage through the Pyrennes Mountains, and re-evaluates her life and her future.
Paulo Coelho has this to say as an introduction to the story: "Rarely do we realize that we are in the midst of the extraordinary. Miracles occur all around us, signs from God show us the way, angels plead to be heard, but we pay little attention to them because we have been taught that we must follow certain formulas and rules if we want to find God. We do not recognize that God is wherever we allow Him/Her to enter."
"Traditional religious practices are important: they allow us to share with others the communal experience of adoration and prayer. But we must never forget that spiritual experience is above all a practical experience of love. And with love, there are no rules. Some may try to control their emotions and develop strategies for their behavior; others may turn to reading books of advice from "experts" on relationships--but this is all folly. The heart decides, and what it decides is all that really matters."
© PROMETHEUS 109/2006
PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, News, Politics and Science. Nr. 109, JULY 2006