Chasing Wild Plums brought me to th’ river. I sat down on a rock, took off my shoes and stuck my feet in the water. It was cold, th’ day was hot. To my right was a man made dam, in front of me a cinder block border, to my left, th’ river ran wild. There was a spot of oil floating around my feet- I watched it float away then stuck my head in th’ water. I imagined it was my river again, like it used to be. Not th’ city’s river- not anyone else’s river, but mine. Flowing, wild and free. And I don’t mean that th’ river belonged to me, but rather, that I belonged to th’ river. That th’ river had it’s way, as once it did. As one day, it will again.
I looked to th’ right, at th’ water spilling over th’ dam. I looked down, to the oil flowing around my feet. I thought of nights in Portland, on th’ banks of th’ Willamette, with my friend Brian. Of how that once glorious river had been turned into a sewer. I thought of th’ talks we used to have, both of us, sitting there on the edge of not only a river, but a life that was rapidly changing. He went his way and I went mine. Th’ river flowed on by.
I looked to th’ left, to th’ river wild. I saw th’ river as it used to be, flowing over rocks, around trees. No cinder block banks, no dams, no waterparks, no beer cans sunk beneath th’ waves. I saw a deer drinking across th’ way. I wondered how long she’d been there, wondered about what else I’d failed to notice. I sat still. A Meadowlark sang it’s song. I heard it over and over in my mind, like thoughts echoing about, talking to each other. I wondered if Meadowlarks think in song.
I listened to th’ song of th’ river. It was not mournful, not a dirge. It bubbled on as though all was right in th’ world, and I had to wonder, if th’ river was right. If th’ river could see a bigger picture than me. If th’ river knew something that I didn’t. Many things.
But of course it does. Th’ river lives among th’ lowly, th’ bottom dwellers. Th’ rocks and th’ fish, th’ mosquito larvae and all th’ water born babies that clean up this mess of a world. I live here above. All that is beneath me. But how we treat th’ lowly, th’ lowest of th’ low, is that not how we treat everyone, eventually?
Th’ river flowed on, and so did my thoughts. A Never Ending Story ending, that’s what this river needs. This world? Who knows. I put my shoes back on, separated myself once again from th’ water. I got back on my bike and rode away. But th’ river, it stayed where it was, or perhaps it too, moved on.