There is much to be learned from a river.

Because of unresolved technical difficulties, this (once more) belated episode of Average Mortal Radio is being brought to you by Cloud Islands Design and is rated R, for rivers.

Hermann Hesse has Siddhartha saying, shortly after his enlightenment, that “…there is much to be learned from a river.” T. S. Eliot says that “I think the river/Is a strong brown god,” one that dwells “within us.”

I’ve been thinking of rivers a great deal lately, for several reasons. One is that Adrienne and I have been helping our friend, Hank Meacham – a river guide on the Methow River on the east side of the North Cascades – get a blog activated in which he will be able to apprise potential clients of river conditions, as well as discuss his love of rafting, rivers, flyfishing, and antique cars. Another is that we were able to go rafting with Hank twice last year, once when the river was racing high and fast from the late spring melt and the other time when the water was lower, but, in its own way more exciting because the rapids were at their full, frothing power, roaring as if wild to be contained in deep canyons and between sage covered sloping hills. Both trips were unique and memorable in their own ways and for their own reasons.

Finally, I’ve been thinking of rivers as the metaphor for and literal method of journeys. In the past 2 weeks 2 dear Lopezians have died: David Fisher of a skiing accident and Leta Currie-Marshall of a failed heart. Both have left gaping emptiness in our small community; both have become part of the great river in which we all flow and which carries us all eventually.

I’ll be bringing you more information on Hank Meacham, on how you can visit his blog and how you can arrange a raft trip with him this season, but I hear now the words of a hymn with which I grew up:

Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, beautiful river;
Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
That flows by the throne of God.

Whoever God is to you, if there is or isn’t such a Being in your life or system of beliefs, go stand by a river. There is much to be learned.


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