Friday, May 27, 2022

Friday Ramble, River

To trace the history of a river or a raindrop . . . is also to trace the history of the soul, the history of the mind descending and arising in the body. In both, we constantly seek and stumble upon divinity, which like feeding the lake, and the spring becoming a waterfall, feeds, spills, falls, and feeds itself all over again.
(Gretel Ehrlich, from Islands, The Universe, Home)

This week's word comes to us through the good offices of the Middle English and Anglo-Norman rivere and the Vulgar Latin riparia, thence the proper Latin riparius and ripa all meaning "of a bank" or simply "bank". The word's closest kin is the adjective riparian, and we use it to describe the fertile ground along waterways and those who live in such places. To be called riparian would be a fine old thing.

From the quiet alcoves and fields of their beginning places to the lakes and estuaries where they end their journeys and merge into their greater kin, a thousand and one little rivers in the Lanark highlands lift their voices, murmuring, cooing, laughing, singing, occasionally roaring. At sunset or in cool morning light, reflections of sky and clouds and trees fill every pool and eddy. After dark, the moon pours its light over everything and Luna seems as much a dweller in the quiet waters as she is in the sky above.

Solitary voices, choruses and concertos, there is attentive presence and connection in every note, and what a metaphor for life and journeying. If I could have named myself, the name would probably have been "River". As it happens, the youngest member of the family now wears the name, and I was delighted when it was chosen. I would like to be around to explore puddles, rivers and tide pools with her in a few years.

Wherever we land up living out our days, we are never far from rivers, and they are fine motifs for wandering. If we are lucky, we will know many in our lives, learn their dialect and cadence, trace the patterns of their ebbing and flowing, commit their rumbling chants and fluid harmonies to fragile memory — the canticles of earth's rivers are ancient stories, and they are the music of our journey.

A peaceful river and a few golden summer full moons, what more can one ask for?

No comments: