The River

I come to this place to write, and yet the words elude my grasp.  Thoughts dance sparkles around the edges of my vision, yet each evades any attempt to put it to the page.  With playfulness, mirth, they swim slowly downstream on the river of my existence.  And so I must bid them farewell, and turn my attention to other things.

Closing my eyes, I am at once surrounded by the sounds.  Water splashing over rocks, pebbles provides a soothing backdrop to this cacophony.  All around me are the cries of Blackbirds, Red-winged and Grackle alike.  In the near distance, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak repeats his song, over and over.  I must shut my eyes tight, breathe the sounds deeply to get beyond this, but they are there.  Silent whispers of the flowers to the wind, and at my feet the quiet dimples of the water striders pushing the surface tension of the river.  With focus I begin to recognize the muffled echoes of the minnows breathing, drawing oxygen and sustenance from the medium in which they spend their lives, and the tinkling of stones pushed aside by the crayfish as they scramble from rock to rock, cover to cover.  A toad sits beside me, lost in her own meditations on the shape of time and the structure of the universe – topics we generally avoid, she and I, for there is a marked difference of opinion.

Above, below, within and beyond all of this there is the water.  Water in the river below, and concealed in the gray clouds above.  Water within our bodies, the leaves of the plants, even tight within the womb of the rocks that dot the shore.  Water beyond our imagination – the lifeblood of all existence.

I come to this place to write, and yet why?  The question is two-sided, the answer multi-variate.  I come to this place to write, to walk, to sleep in the afternoon sun.  The land here invites, draws in, and yet it seems it must always be experienced with purpose.  We come to the land to ‘do’, not to ‘be’.  Have we forgotten so completely our ancestral heritage, the forests which were once our place of birth?  Perhaps it is only a legacy of our society, the ‘world’ we have created within that which Is.  We turn a blind eye to all that does not suit our immediate purpose.  The sadness lies in all that is missed.

I come to this place to write, and yet why?  What is it that draws me here, away from the angry sounds of the city, traffic volume and sirens?  Here in the silence of the many sounds around me there is peace.  Struggle, life and death, predator and prey, but peace for the soul.  The doorways to the heart, locked tight by so many in the cities we have built, may be flung open wide without fear of reprisal.  Freedom to ‘be’ yourself, without implication or judgement.  Here there is only acceptance.

I come to this place to write, and yet why?  I come here to be me, to allow my spirit to fly free, to be alone with my thoughts and one with myself.

The lead falls from my pencil as I write, and lands softly on the surface of the water.  Several water striders rush out to greet it, but most turn away uninterested.  A task too great to contemplate.  There is one who holds fast, struggles to make the lead form into his thoughts also.  Finally, frustrated, he relinquishes his grasp and the lead flows away, down the river of his existence.

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Mike Pedde 16/06/2001

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