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River Character: A Poem


June 5, 2013

There you are, moving gracefully as a beauty queen. In breathtaking ways your margins turn this way, and sway that way, around the curves of earth’s body. Statuesque rocks on either side—standing holy as the pearly gates.

Creeks and streams full with energy and anticipation. Traveling from afar, driven—full of purpose, as they rush to join you, to generously donate whatever you need, to give their abundance, and assure your existence—eventually disappearing—becoming one with you.

You are amazing, grand vessel, committed to the promise of keeping earth alive. You ensure enough resources to maintain life—even on the tiniest parts of her surface. Everyone and everything are equal. You never give up, knowing that everything has meaning, and everything is magnificent—knowing that even the smallest places offer something fantastic, something mystical—unique gifts we have yet to open.

Marvelous river, when you are quiet, your deep silence nourishes our souls. You are a great spirit—an empress, and with infinite wisdom, you listen, and for the first time, we feel important—remembered, as though we are the only ones in your world. Tenderly, you lead us where we need to go. You embrace our sorrow, hold our pain, and weep alongside us, as we share together about our losses. Slowly, all of our heartaches leave-flow downstream—vanishing into your great reservoir. We realize why our father, and our father’s father, had also treasured their relationships with you.

We expect that change lies ahead when we journey with you, river. Sometimes, floating down stream, we meet your stern and serious side. It is threatening, and exciting—sharp shale edges, rushing white water, your rocky bed suddenly drops downhill. Our hearts skip a beat—we pay attention, listening and watching closely for hints on what to do, which way to go. The path may be difficult, we learn to trust and, at the end, feel more near to you and your entire wonderful body.

There are few places where we really feel okay, where we feel understood—and we are acknowledged for trying our best, where we know we don’t have to do more or do better, that everything we have done so far in life, is good, and right, and perfect, just the way it is. You accept us unconditionally, and we can’t help, but, fall in love with you, Old River.

Our gratitude is eternal, and we hope and pray to forever remain worthy and open to your kindness. Your spirit is in our hearts, our hearts are in your hands—every day, every place we go.