The flow of time is a strange thing. I once had plans, and then they failed me. I once was lost, but now am found.
And everything is changing again, or will be.
I think that we are caught in more cross-currents than we’ve noticed, because the rapids have come up on us gradually. We acclimated to the roughness without fully feeling the toll it takes to navigate it.
Dark brown is the river.
Golden is the sand.
It flows along for ever,
With trees on either hand.
Somewhere, I’m sure, there’s a more tranquil flow of things, but I’m left twisting. I can’t master this chaos on behalf of the family. The most I can do is stay calm and try not to blink. There are stone angels in the waters.
But that has always been true, since the beginning of the river.
So I think that if I keep my eyes open long enough, I’ll eventually be able to see the empty spaces, the things I sense we’re missing. Things crowded out by the rush and noise. (Is there a fall at the end of this?)
Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating –
Where will all come home?
They say to cast your bread on many waters, and it’ll return to you, somehow. I’m casting more bread than I have, and the simple prayer — give us this day our daily — seems ungrateful. I am wealthy. Look at all I have, just look.
There’s nothing I don’t have, and I’m buried by the tinsel in this Tinkertown.
They say it’s all downhill from here. The kids are getting ready to leave home. Meanwhile, I feel I’ve missed my youngest’s growing-up years, so busy am I with the other three. I feel I’ve missed my third one’s multiplicity of thoughts, her tender heart’s most giving moments. I feel I’ve missed the nurturing the second one needed. And that oldest one, that oldest one. He stymies me.
On goes the river
And out past the mill.
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill.
And I sit here in the waning hours, casting bread. They are getting ready to fly, and so am I. There’s a horizon ahead, the edge of a nest. It was the rim of our world for a long, long time. And now I feel its smallness.
So. This is where the river goes.
Is there a fall at the end of this? Or am I mistaking the look of a leap of faith?
They will come back, I believe that. They’ll come back with their own trials and dreams. With their own little ones in tow, and I will be at peace in a season of snow.
This journey’s not mine to finish. The things I launched were never mine. That has always been true, since the beginning of the river.
Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore.
Poem: Where Go the Boats? By Robert Louis Stevenson