Monday, July 06, 2009

The River

Silently the morning mist is lying on the water
Captive moonlight waiting for the dawn
Softly like a baby's breath a breeze begins to whisper
“The sun is coming, quick you must be gone.”

The habitat that feeds our soul is different for everyone. Some are desert people, some get their energy from the city. Some find their joy at the beach. For me, it is the mountains.

Smiling like a superstar the morning comes in singing
The promise of another sunny day
And all the flowers open up to gather in the sunshine
I do believe that summer's here to stay

Two years ago, The Husband, our foursome, and I came up to stay in a cabin alongside the Pecos River. My parents drove up and spent a couple of days with us. No internet, no cell coverage. We liked it so much, we made plans to all come back last summer, plus my brother and his wife, and my sister.

The best laid plans of mice and men …

After we received the phone call that made me drop to my knees, I waited to cancel. Waited for the formal diagnosis of recurrent Wilms’ Tumor. Waited to decide on our plan of treatment. Waited til I figured out the calendar, and knew for absolute sure that there was no way we could go up in the mountains. And still I waited. I could handle so much, but making that phone call to cancel our reservation … I just couldn’t do it. Without any words between us, my mother knew. When she canceled her reservation, she also canceled ours.

In the hospital last summer, there was one channel on the hospital tv where they ran video of nature scenes and soothing music.

One of the frequent scenes was a river in the mountains, tall pines stretched above it. It was so much like our place, I couldn’t watch it. It didn’t soothe me. I didn’t know if we would ever return.

She ended treatment in November. In January, we needed to make our reservations. It scared me. There would be at least two sets of scans between January and summer. I made the reservations. The lodge for my crew. Two smaller cabins for my parents and my brother.

A week ago, we drove the meandering mountain road up to our cabin. Before unpacking, leaving The Husband and my children opening drapes and setting themselves up in the lodge, I walked down to the river.

It was still there.

Of course it was still there, you might say. You think the river would be stopped by your life, your sadness?

Maybe I did, a little. Maybe it was hard to believe that the river would keep flowing.

Sit beside a mountain stream, see her waters rise
Listen to the pretty sound of music as she flies

Every day we were there, the river and I would hold long conversations. It would tell me about the things it had seen since I’d last been there – snows in the winter, deer drinking at dawn – and I told it about what I’d seen. We both saw death this year, and we both saw birth. The river kindly carried my tears downstream; I dipped my hand in her cold water and splashed it on my face. The river is generous with both her healing medicine and her counsel.

And Oh, I love the life within me
I feel part of everything I see
And Oh, I love the life around me
A part of everything is here in me

Yesterday, after a glorious holiday, it was time to leave. Turn off the lights, wash the towels, close the drapes, lock the doors.

I went down to the river to say goodbye. I stood above her on the deck, and I knelt down beside her in a hidden little room at her edge, with overhanging branches and stones for seats, where the children and I were sure we’d seen fairies.

Already, we talk of our plans for next summer, when and how, but definitely all of us.

My parents are old, Little Warrior is … Little Warrior. We know that plans might need to be canceled. But we make them with hope and happiness and anticipation.

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.

I am haunted by waters.

Attribution: Summer by John Denver, Mother Nature's Son by The Beatles, A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean.


fausto said...

River, as sung by Bill Staines

Earthbound Spirit said...
Down in the River to Pray (Alison Krauss), one of my favorites - and they sang it at the Service of the Living Tradition this year.

Ms. Theologian said...

One of my favorite movies.

ms. kitty said...

What Fausto said. "River" is one of my alltime favorite songs.

kim said...

And Oh, I love the life within me
I feel part of everything I see
And Oh, I love the life around me
A part of everything is here in me

This has been a favorite of mine since I first heard it in 1973....