Drifting Down the River

A tug, the sensation of something being just up ahead around the next bend in the river. And I am choosing this now, today, to float and not flail. A slight current pulls me downstream. The rapids come in dips and dives, but at the moment the water is calm. You’d expect this to create a sense of calm, and it can, but first I must relax my body and give over to it, let my full weight soften and sink into the vessel that carries me down. No oar, no paddle, no GPS, no text messaging, no cell service here–only the sky passing by overhead and the songs of birds and the stands of trees.

Yesterday was Greg’s birthday, and in the morning over coffee at one point he said, “We don’t ask the trees what they are doing.” We don’t expect the trees to have a sense of direction, to pursue what’s next, to earn their keep and prove their worth. They just are. Busy internally perhaps, and providing so much shelter and nourishment to countless unseen little creatures, seemingly unmoving but complex and active with life and purpose.

So I pass them by, combing my fingers through the clean, cool fresh water as I go drifting, drifting down the river, and I close my eyes, trusting that I will open them again, blinking at the light that brightens and fades all on its own, knowing that when the time comes to step onto shore, I will do that next right thing, and just the right people will meet me there as if they’d been expecting me, preparing for my arrival. Together, we’ll make a fire to warm ourselves against the chill of nightfall, sitting in each other’s company with no plans for tomorrow, the wildflowers poking out of ash and rich, wet earth, inviting sleep.

4 thoughts on “Drifting Down the River

  1. Murray Schwartz says:

    Between floating and flailing, there is swimming, and the joy of using your own powers. And the trees are constantly adapting to their environment, so long as the environment is in the range that sustains them. There’s activity everywhere, and even trees wouldn’t survive without a sense of direction. But we humans are burdened and blessed with the need to make choices.

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