Friday, December 27, 2019

Friday Ramble - Last of the Year

It seems right to begin the last ramble of the calendar year with sunlight shining through a fog over the Clyde river on a December morning. Sister and kindred spirit, the river meanders through woodlands, valleys and farm fields in the eastern Ontario highlands, crafting deeper channels wherever she pleases and loving every winding turn she makes along her way. A veritable crone among waterways, she mutters, grumbles and roars as she journeys south to merge with the Mississippi river in Bathurst township. In some places the river is shallow and not much wider than a creek, but she is a wild thing, and she has serious attitude from her birthplace in Clyde Lake to the journey's end.

In winter, I find a sheltered perch on the bank and listen to the river as she sings underneath the ice. Sometimes, 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.

In springtime, I watched as willows on the far 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, the sun went down over the same willows, so golden of leaf and limb that they seemed to be spun out of sunlight or stars. In the now, snow frosts every tree and branch, and the light shining through them dazzles my eyes.

This is where I came to collect my thoughts when my husband was diagnosed with cancer, then after my own cancer diagnosis some time later. It is where I came when my friend Penny passed beyond the fields we know, and when we put Spencer to sleep after osteosarcoma rampaged through his dear little metabolism like wildfire. It was the most loving thing we could do for our sweet boy, but I still cry when I think about it.

When my husband passed away a few weeks ago, this is where I came. The distraught and weeping female on the shore was surely unrecognizable to most people including herself, but the river knew me anyway, and she greeted me with open arms. When I unravel, the river is always there to knit me back together. With Spencer's little brother Beau, family, soul sisters, kindred spirits and the river on my side, I will get through this big life stuff somehow, but at the moment, mere survival is darned hard work, and I haven't a clue how I am going to do it.

Thank you for coming along on Friday rambles this year. May there be abundance and healing for all of us. May there be happier rambles in the shiny new year that is waiting for us around the bend.

6 comments:

Barbara R. said...

I so enjoy your rambles. Thank you for being just you, and inspiring me to put one foot in front of the other. Your river, trees, wind and rambles all speak of the interwoven beings that have met together to give you some peace, and then you give me some inspiration. I wish I could give it back to you tenfold.

Jennifer said...

I love your ramblings. This one was incredibly poignant. My wish for you in the new year is solace and peace and to be surrounded with love.

Mystic Meandering said...

"but the river knew me"... Oh yes - and the trees too. They all await you...
You are a strong woman, Cate. I suspect you will be carried through by the
unseen hands of Love as you journey on - one foot in front of the other... .♥.♥.♥

Tabor said...

Grief is a strong visitor and not to be ignored, but accepted and soothed. You will be better, I am sure, but now is the time to realize the endless moving river will always be there to help with healing. It is a strong and reliable friend.

PamB said...

I’ve been a “singing pebble” here since 2012 and your words, imagery, metaphors and beautiful visuals always inspire a deep reverence for life, in all its diversity which you recreate for us with such generosity and spirit. The seasonal life cycles of a much loved place in Ontario near Clyde River are alive in my imagination and in my heart, thanks to you. You’ve shown again and again the intertwining of grief and love and how honoring the one is honoring the other. May 2020 be rich in blessings and renewal for you. Thank you for the many ways you hold space where you are!

bev said...

I love when your write about the Clyde River. I took my canoe there so many times - often with my dog Maggie, sometimes with Don. It is as you have written - it can seem so gentle, but at times, so mighty -- like your words. I'm glad you have a special place beside the river. Take care.