Friday, December 30, 2022

Friday Ramble - Last of the Year

It seems right to start the last ramble of the year with sunlight shining through fog along the Clyde river on a December morning. The Clyde is an old tributary, curving sinuously through woodlands, valleys and farm fields in the eastern Ontario highlands, carving deep channels as she goes and loving every bend along the way. A wild spirit and a veritable crone among waterways, she resists freezing as long as possible, muttering and grumbling on her way south to merge with the Mississippi river in Bathurst township. In some places the river is scarcely wider than a creek, but she has attitude right from her beginning place in Clyde Lake to her journey's end.

In winter, I find a sheltered perch on the bank and listen to the river singing under the ice. Sometimes, she seems to be performing a duet with the wind, and there is a kind of Zen counterpoint at work, two unbridled entities 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 boozy potions, jewelry, pairs of shoes and coffee spoons.

This is the right place to be on the trailing edge of the calendar year. 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 the light shining through them dazzles my eyes.

This is where I came to collect my thoughts when my soulmate was diagnosed with cancer, then after my own cancer diagnosis a while later. It is where I came when my friend Penny passed beyond the fields we know and when we gently assisted our canine companion Spencer across the rainbow bridge after osteosarcoma had ravaged his dear little metabolism. It is where I came when Irv passed away three years ago from pancreatic cancer. His passing still hurts, and I miss him so much.

The river is where I have always come to replenish the energies and inner directives needed to get through big life stuff like surgery, chemo and the nasty side effects that go along for the ride. Alas, there will be more of that in the new year. There are times when I hardly recognize the frazzled female drooping along the shoreline, but the river knows me, and she welcomes me with open arms. Whenever I am unraveling, the Clyde works her magic, and she knits me back together again. With Beau, family, a loving circle of sisters and kindred spirits and the river on my side, I will get through somehow.

Thank you for coming along on Friday rambles this year. May we share many more rambles in the shiny new year that is waiting for us around the bend.