What the River Teaches Me

The last few weeks have been filled with activity. Good things, but with barely a moment to breathe.

Saturday I taught a retreat on balance.photo 2

Today, a cancellation of eagerly awaited plans left me with a perfectly blank day on the calendar. Anticipating the cold weather headed in for the weekend, I went to my favorite park along the Tulpehocken Creek to walk along the water. The following reflection (I hesitate to call it a poem, since I know some amazing poets) began to form as I walked, and when I hit a bench with a view of the water, I stopped to write. 

The River

The water waltzes by,
Pausing for a flirtatious twirl in the shallow eddies along the shore,
Grabbing golden-leaf partners to whisk through the steps.
The mix of melody and footfall banishes the fear that plasters my soul to the wall
And frees me to spin, to swirl, to tilt back my head and laugh,
To join the dance.

photo 1-1Just a few short steps down the river, a solemner mood reigns.
The water barely moves, a tired reveler pausing for a respite.
The floor is clear, the mud visible.
The preening duck the only sign that the water is alive
And that the dance feeds the quiet channel.
I pause to rest, to reflect on the message of silence.

The river has a rhythm—the boisterous, the celebration,
Followed by the calm, the clarity,
That leads downstream to the resumption of the dance.
I ignore the rhythm to my peril.
I belong with the river, moving forward,
Incorporating both the patterns and partnership of the dance
And the strengthening solitude of rest and refreshment.

Some days I’ll be the brash partner, drawing others into the revelry.
Other times I’m the wallflower, needing the urging,
The clasped hand, of one more confident, one who sees me.
And still there will be the days of seeking the quiet hideaway,
Far from the music, but near the punch bowl,
Where I can hear the thoughts of my own heart.

And the river keeps moving.photo 3-1

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