The River

I have not gotten around to scribbling down my thoughts in ages because so much has changed and it takes time for change to become something malleable, something worth sharing. Life is full of twists and turns. We assess and manage the area that we can see but around the bend the specter of the unknown lies. A place we try to make secure through planning.


When the surroundings are no longer familiar, life has attained a liquid quality, a flowing sensation, unpredictable, scary. Who can blame a man who tries to swim back upstream, who tries to get back to the way things were. Eventually, nature grinds us down and downstream we go. You can make it fun, allow a youthful quality. Make mistakes, learn, ask questions and run in the rain. Disregard the danger for a moment. Remember you were young once. Things may seem more formless while we reassess. By that, I mean less defined and not lending itself to being described in faithful prose. It takes a touch of the poet to bring it closer – to bring the flower within reach so others can smell the fragrance.


To look into liquid, or even going underwater, is an old storytelling theme. It is a part of life, an essential component of the psyche. Usually used to bestow some previously unknown knowledge on the watcher. We can go into the formless, chaos in a logical sense, and bring back something of the unknown to the formed. Standard practice for artists that gravitate towards a creative lifestyle. Great creations bring back something even the artist can not possess or define and those are adorned by people – why? Why can you simply look at creations and turn away with something eternally different lodged in yourself?


Staying underwater will kill whomsoever went there, whether physically or through madness, a failing of the mind. The structure, the mind, that goes there can become permanently undone. Some readers will have felt this feeling and therefore there is concrete proof that on the last precipice, before complete unknown, there is a total fear. So we return to flow, no river rapid can continue forever and no waterfall falls for forever. All rivers desire the ocean. Does gravity pull the river there or does the river create gravity to get there?


The pernicious resolve of a river gives it the charm to waltz through extremely arid areas with a fickle nonchalance for whom it bears on its giant shoulders, twisting towards the ocean in another episode of life. In these arid landscapes, the river is the blood of the people who have chosen or been chosen, to carve out life in places where only the most resolute desert dweller has managed to grind out a life rather than face the unknown prospect, bind together a raft from the limited resources and bid farewell. Bid farewell to the known and find what lies ahead. An exchange for whatever may come to him. It shows the fear is real and deep.


This is journey represents a tribal coming of age story in its metaphysical characteristics. At some point, the itch becomes too much for those imbibed with a sense of challenge. Hardship is not necessarily invited, but it is associated with such a decision. It runs parallel and so some days the river will flow no more and our rusty hands will be gripped tightly to the paddle. The arteries will bulge in our arms as we drag air through our lungs. These are the moments where going forward seems going uphill. These are the moments where the backbone of your life is written in a stone that cannot be moved by an external force. This is where even adversary takes a bow. Where the imposition of reality seems an overbearing weight, a punishment dished out only to Atlas, as no man can bear its weight.


Jesus does not recommend us to look back lest we find ourselves a salty epilogue. Medusa is adorned by a head of snakes and a snake recommends eve to bite on an apple no more juicy than the temptation itself. A snake is a precursor to the realm of the dragon – the great beast of the unknown. Its eyes can turn us to stone, unable to move or make a decision.


So unconsciously we introduce ourselves to the unknown. Yet, we are human. Look around you, some no longer go to where the water begins. We can not camp along the same bank for the rest of our lives.


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