How right to start the last ramble of the year with sunlight falling across a bend in the Clyde river in the Lanark Highlands near Hopetown. The river is an "old age" meandering tributary, and her currents curve through woodlands, valleys and farm fields, crafting flood plains here and there, carving deep channels and cherishing every turning they encounter on their way. The river is a wild spirit, a veritable crone among waterways, and she resists freezing as long as she can, muttering and crooning and tumbling along on her journey.
In the depths of winter, I perch on the bank and listen to the river as she sings underneath the ice. At times, she seems to be performing a duet with the wind, and there's a kind of Zen counterpoint at work, two unbridled entities utterly independent in their contours and rhythm, but meticulously interwoven and seamless in their harmonies. Putting all notions of complex orchestration and conventional choreography aside, there's lovely music in the air on icy winter days. The sound of moving water has always been a leitmotif for me, and I often think that my existence can be measured in rivers, currents and intermittent streams rather than cocktails, jewelry, pairs of shoes and coffee spoons.
This is the right place to stand on the trailing edge of the calendar year. In springtime, I watched as willows on the farther shore leafed out and turned silvery green, then looked on a few weeks later as the river overflowed her banks and asserted her claim to the fertile fields on both sides. In summer, I counted bales of hay and captured images of deer and wild turkeys feeding at dusk. In autumn, I watched the sun go down over the same willows, so golden of leaf that they too seemed to be made of falling sunlight. In the now, snow frosts every twig and tree, and light shining through them dazzles the eyes.
This is where I came with Spencer to collect my thoughts when my husband (now in remission) was diagnosed with cancer some time ago, and again when I got my own diagnosis this summer. It is where we come now to replenish the energies and inner directives needed to get through big life stuff like chemo and radiation. There have been times lately when we all thought we were unraveling, but the Clyde works her magic, and she knits us back together again, every single time. With Himself and Spencer and the river on my side, I will get through this.
Thank you for coming along on Friday rambles with me this year, and may we share many more such rambles in the shiny new year that is waiting for us all, just around the bend.