Letting go with the river
I was walking along River Road in Callicoon
beside the Delaware on a Sunday afternoon recently.
I like to walk there because it’s flat and provides
an unimpared view of the river. And because there’s
never much traffic. The road is a dead-end and is
only traversed by the folks who live down that way.
So my walk is hardly ever interrupted. The moist smell
of the clear water enlivens the air and adds to the
verve of walking. The river rushes by me in the brilliant
afternoon sun. There isn’t a cloud in the sky. The
lush trees on the side of the gorge over in Pennsylvania
provide a quiet backdrop for the drama of the rushing
water. The flow is like a vortex of energy cascading
through me. It seemed to encourage me to let go of
what I was holding back inside, afraid it would take
me to places I don’t dare go.
Rivers have a brilliance that is all
their own, especially smaller rivers like the Delaware.
It’s not majestic like the Hudson, but is humble and
modest, swelling over the tops of hidden boulders,
billowing into a churning wake or quietly dancing
with a silvery shimmer over a bed of pebbles.
What’s really wonderful about living
near a river is that it can speak to you of profound
things if you will only listen. The flow of life is
like the river. They say you can never step into the
same river twice. But when you think about it, you
can never step into the same moment twice. It’s gone.
Gone with its pains, its anxieties, its ecstasies
and its opportunities. Life doesn’t stop flowing,
just like the river.
I sat down on a tree stump for a while
and just watched and listened. For a river that isn’t
very wide, the Delaware carries a powerful lot of
water. I thought of all the people down river in Trenton
and Philadelphia who would use this water that’s passing
me by for their drinking water. It will bring them
life and nourishment and energy for their souls.
The scientists tell us that our bodies
are 95 percent water. Small wonder then why we’re
so fascinated at river side to sit and watch the flow
or sit on a sandy beach to experience the waves rolling
in without ceasing.
I looked up and saw two canoes come
barreling along, shooting over the boulders and riding
through the silvery brilliance. It’s still Spring
when the river is higher than usual and the water
more abundant and powerful. A lot to folks don’t like
to go on the river until late June and July when it’s
more tame and canoe-friendly. The boaters never notices
me they were so intent on conquering the flow and
fighting where the river was taking them. They seemed
to be afraid of the force of the water instead of
riding it and using it.
It could have been that they weren’t
skilled enough at canoeing. A lot of folks don’t know
how to conserve their energy and use the paddles intelligently,
changing their direction with a minimal amount of
effort. It’s all in knowing how. And it’s all in knowing
when to let go and go with the flow.
I think it’s Deepak Chopra who talks
about the law of least effort. He says that the holy
gurus of old said that when you learn to get in touch
with your higher self, when you achieved higher awareness,
everything that you need for your life happens effortlessly.
It all flows to you like the river. Perhaps that’s
the lesson I was trying to learn as I sat there on
the banks of the Delaware. Perhaps that’s what the
river is trying to tell us.
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