The River II

Hello, old friend. It’s been a while. Seems like eons since last we met. Has it really been that long? Did someone evaporate the years from before our eyes, or did one moment just trickle into the next until all was spent?

My first thought when I saw you was, “Oh my God. Where has she gone?” I said nothing of course, but you could tell. It was the look in my eyes, staring at your own shattered reflection. Your face is gaunt, your eyes have become still black pools with no sunlight to illuminate them. Your skin, stretched thin, bones bulging up through the surface. Your hair is matted and gray. You are barely half of what you once were, a mere shadow of yourself.

I can still ride the trail down the memories of our summer time. Things were much different. . . I swear you were three feet higher then, but maybe not. Time creates its own illusions. Your eyes were clear and blue, sparkling with their own inner light. That I remember well. Hair cascaded down your shoulders, shimmering, and blowing gently with the breezes. Your shape was much fuller, and there was always a ripple of energy coursing through your veins. Sometimes it spilled out, unstoppable, infecting all you touched, bathing them in the radiance of who you were.

I always knew where to find you; it seemed you never strayed far from your ‘home’ in the woods. Always following your own path. The world you created within yourself became a mecca for others as well. Everyone was welcome to come and share in your journey. And come they did: deer and rabbit, cardinal and kingfisher alike, drinking deep of the essence you created. You had your favourites, though; you must admit that. The fishes and turtles, frogs and salamanders, even the dragonflies. It was them who knew you best. Swimming through your fingers, entwining themselves in the folds of your hair, it was no secret to anyone. You nourished all who came to you, filled them to overflowing, but to some it was as if you gave life itself. Summer joys were made more brilliant in your presence. Difficulties shrank away when met with your wisdom. Almost as if you could wash them completely from the mind. . . I never fully understood your gift, but I know I benefited from it well. Everyone it seems loved you in their own way.

Much has flowed under the bridge since then. The seas have claimed that time and held it tight. Still, one can always escape to dreams, rushing down the rapids of a bygone age.

Look at us, you and I, both in the autumn of our lives. Winter approaches soon, waiting to enclose us in its grip. Icy fingers will reach deep, wrench our souls and someday we will flow through our days no longer. No regrets have I. Life is a journey, not a destination, and we have journeyed well.

Perhaps we will cross paths when spring births into existence once again. . .

Mike Pedde 10/08/2001