For the past several weeks, on Saturday and Sunday in the late afternoon I’ve had to go to the river to see the end of the day. Something just pulls me out there. And of course, my photographer self doesn’t think I’ve seen something unless I can look at it again later, which has produced a prodigous collection of sky shots. Today I stood on the bank, watching the sky and the river moving by and I remembered that song, “Old Man River.”
I suddenly remembered, in a different way from before, about the magic of a river. The sameness of its movement; whether summer low or winter high, crashing rapids or placid meandering, it just keeps on moving. Sun up, sun down, moon or no, it does the same thing all the time. Sometimes in summer it seems to be benign, just a shallow current, its holes and snags hidden from sight. Then sometimes in winter it rises up and takes over, breaking levees and taking homes, trees, animals and sometimes people with it. Its power is undeniable in flood season. And so captivating. No matter its threat, one is drawn to see it, to see how high it is, whether it has taken over the road yet, whether this year it’ll be even higher than last.
In past years, I’ve spent a quite a bit of time on this and other rivers, but it’s been a long time on dry land for me now. I always counted on my partner to put the canoe on the truck, to generate the motivation to get to the river. I just packed a lunch and went. Today as I watched that water determinedly, placidly moving along I wanted to go along with it. I felt landlocked, stranded on the shore. I wanted to just gut up and follow the current. That feeling is a parallel to other things in my life that I feel unable to do. Maybe it’s time to shift that stuckness, just a little, just to see what could happen.