The river always sets me straight.
When I feel anxious, confused, or full of sorrow, I go on the river and find peace. Everything else slips away, almost instantly. Despite our stretch of the river being a work zone this year, it is still my sanctuary. Everybody needs a sanctuary.
Earlier this week after a night of fitful sleep, I woke up at 5:00 a.m. knowing that I needed to go on the river right away because there was something waiting for me in the stillness out there. Wanting to combine solitude with exercise, I paddled fairly vigorously most of the time. But the interesting thing is that it felt as if I was paddling through invisible filaments of poetry that were moving around like morning mist on the river. It almost felt as if strings of words were being whispered from the trees themselves, and if I was aware enough, I could catch them with my pencil and notebook.
Did I hear the subtle energy of the trees or flowing water? The collective mind? Or did the stillness and scenery awaken a level of consciousness in me that speaks in nature metaphors? Whatever it was, it seemed to completely bypass my thinking mind and arrive in the rhythm of haiku. I collected seven that day in the early morning air before the rain began. The words are very simple. They convey an impression that I inhabited fully for a moment in time – something that captured my attention.
Certainly plenty more bits of poetry are out there right now, although the water is too high today to go in the kayak and catch them. So I’ll just let them linger there or do whatever they do when nobody is around to notice. If they are meant for me, perhaps they will find me as I take a walk with my husband or clean the flat of strawberries I picked this morning.
But I imagine them out there swirling and waiting to delight an aware passerby, hopefully lingering longer than the fish bubbles I saw that early morning, and longer than the mist that rises with the sun some mornings.
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