As your birth approached and the name emerged, I began to think about why I love Rivers…
When I was young I spent my summers playing in the Spokane River. Later we jumped bridges into the same river. Many rivers. With names like Couer D’Alene, Thompson,Priest, Kootenai, Snake, Columbia, Clearwater.
There is almost nothing I love more than, on a hot day, plunging into a cold, cold river.
Imagine a 102° dry, August afternoon with heat waves rising from the neighborhood streets. A dusty, burnt smell is everywhere and I’m not sure if the scent is the torched and dying wheat fields at the edge of town, the cracked and baking asphalt streets, or my own summer skin.
As late afternoon approached and the sun reached it’s zenith, my brother and I biked to the Spokane River for some respite. The water would be too cold to stay in for very long but as soon as we would emerge from the water the sun, immediately would begin to dry us. After a few minutes I reached that Goldilocks moment; I wasn’t too cold or too hot. Perfectly refreshed.
I am cleansed and baptized by the Rivers.
I am most at peace, when I am at the Rivers edge. I can spend hours, days, weeks at the Rivers edge and be completely entertained and satisfied. I simply turn my head from side to side.
During these times I rarely think about WHY I am filled with this peace.
What is so peaceful about Rivers? They are so definite and yet so momentary. Rivers will surely reach its destination though it does not know the path it will follow. It rushes forth with assurance and power bending to its environment yet rigid in its goal and final destination.
When I sit at the Rivers edge my imagination runs free with thoughts of exploration.I dream of the rivers source, the spring. I go to all the places between myself and that source. The fallen tree or the spawning trout, the smooth round stone, and jagged cliff; all with a story to tell.
I dream too of the rivers destination, the mouth. I travel to all the times and places between myself and that destination. Pre-historic, glacial valley creation. Pre-civilization predator prey harmony. Pre-European native ritual. Pre-Steve wildlife footprint.
The stories entertain me and I am comforted.
The strongest civilizations are established upon the Rivers. I suppose this means we all love Rivers.
Plants, animals and all creation abide near to the rivers. At the Rivers edge our cup runneth over.
In the battle between Rivers and the stone, Rivers always win. Through perseverance not strength. Power not force.
Although they have a source and a destination, Rivers and the cycle; Rivers to mist to cloud to rain and back to Rivers, is everlasting.
At the Rivers edge all things pass quickly so be alert and present, but also remember too that as quickly as the fish or the branch pass, Rivers is eternal.
Rivers are dynamic. A foaming waterfall, a turbulent confluence, a silent bend, all within the same river. At every moment the river has completely changed yet it is always the same river.
When I look at my Rivers eyes, I see innocent, wide open eyes trying to focus and chase the light filtering through the room. When I sit at the Rivers edge I see my own refracted and dazzled reflection.
When I sit by Rivers I’m soothed by the sounds. Rivers breathing. Rivers whispering. Rivers flowing. Rivers raging.
There is a delicate balance at the Rivers edge. Rivers may become angry and turbulent. Rivers strength can overwhelm and flood the very lands they nourish.
We must be sensitive, alert and thoughtful as our Rivers grows and changes with the seasons.
We must nourish and foster our Rivers because Rivers will absorb the environment which surrounds. Surely, along the way, Rivers will give itself and its life to everything encountered.
We must not force Rivers outside the natural and given path. How can we help keep Rivers pure and clean without constructing a dam that will stagnate and suffocate our Rivers?
Years ago I decided Rivers are the source of fire.
Fire’s fuel is wood from the tree that drinks from the river.
You are the Rivers for my fire. My fire that burns so bright.
This is why I love Rivers.