Food For Thought: Watching the River Flow

I sit at my desk mesmerized… The river has shifted its flow and is moving upstream with the force of the incoming tide from the ocean. Along the sides of the river, the water is rippling in an undulating motion as if trying to go against the movement of the upstream flow.

I am captivated by the flow of the river and its motion, seeming so unnatural a motion, to flow upstream instead of down. Yet, every day the river takes a trek both up and down stream, for I live on the lower end of the mighty Merrimack River, where the tides of the river shift with the ocean’s tides. The frigid temperatures of this day have created massive sheets and formations of ice, which stretch across to the center of the river. They are captivating to watch as they move past my vantage point at my desk window.

Merrimack River, Amesbury, Mass

I think of the river, in all of its guises, as part of me, in all of my guises. I am as changeable and impermanent as the river. I feel the cold hard edges of the ice jarring me from the inside, begging me to reach deeper into the depths of my own source that I might understand the very flow of life.

I see the forms of other life and substances caught in the ice, frozen for a time, creating more texture, forming more questions in my mind. Where did this branch come from? Where is it going? Who am I in the grand scheme of it all.

Now the ice is sculpting itself into geometric shapes with smooth edges some of which hide in the shadows. The river flows on unaware that I am singularly captivated by its stunning display, which swiftly changes from ice covered water to cerulean blue water dotted with a few last vestiges of the ice that has gone by.

Earlier in the day, when I first arose, there was sea smoke rising from the river as flowed downstream to the ocean. The frigid, below zero temperatures of last night created the perfect combination for the colder air to collide with the warmer water, causing the moisture to rise over the water in a smoke like vapor. Sea smoke. a sort of mystical creation of nature. A chilling mist rising from water on a cold winter’s day.

Nature is art in motion, moving past my line of vision in film-like fashion. All of life is a fusion that is like a moving picture. I am but an actor on the grand stage of Mother Nature’s surface. My part is but a walk-on. This river that flows through me, flowed long before I got here to the stage. And this river that flows through me will flow long after I depart behind the stage’s curtain.

It is mine and solely mine, to make the best of the lessons that I learn and to pass them on, as the river passes on its wisdom to me. And so I sit here mesmerized… Watching the river flow.

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