A part of me will always remain here.
For the passing moments, oh maybe two hours or so, I’ve sat in silence, occasionally rambling down a cement pathway alongside the river. No music, no distractions save wandering thoughts, intentionally present yet too a thousand lives before and some I’ve yet to live.
There is no remedy as deeply curative as nature, for my soul, and none more precious than this land I once called Home. Having traveled this way and that and yes this world is vast – there is much beauty I’ve yet to see, there is something different for me here. As if my soul was stitched by the tiny petals of queen Anne’s lace and pine needles and eternal thirst satisfied by the mighty Columbia River. It is not the most spectacular place on earth yet it is my warm blanket when my bones get cold. It is my port upon stormy sea, my compass pointing north.
Upon a pier I sit alone watching sparrows and seaguls happily dance in the air above the water. Occasionally a barge will pass and this entire structure rocks about, deep swells that wash a smile across my face. As if the river comes more alive, perks up quickly, disturbed by passing ships and cruising boats, wanting instead to flow as easily as she can. Make a leisure time of finding the ocean. For a while I caught myself lost in the dark deep water. The texture of its movement so pleasing to my eyes, much the same as fading fast into fire. I thought about all the people throughout the ages who’ve been nurtured by this river, their eyes just as transfixed as my own, and in that second I felt a part of them. I wonder now if they too sat beside this river and imagined me before I ever breathed my first breathe.
In this great time of contemplation, I brought forth my bare reflection before God and passed my confessions to this rolling river. He alone knows before I could speak it the words that fall off my tongue, and though with humility understand I don’t deserve it, felt renewed in this endeavor. To set down the heaviness, relinquish this hold, for this burden I carry needn’t chain me now. My God, I whispered, why for some it be so hard to just let go? Tears fell, not of pity but of understanding how deep this defiance has rooted itself, that I should deny what I know to be true and call the pain in the absence of it something I deserve. Why do we do this?
From my perch atop the river I began to walk, after the wind blew a little too cold for my bare Texas shoulders. The sun hides behind familiar grey today, I don’t mind that at all. Along the trail I began to notice the shapes of the leaves. Goodness you walk ten feet and how many different kinds of trees can one see? Smiling, the occasional hello to passing strangers, within my fingers a flower from the grass here, a delicate leaf there, treasures more wonderful to me than gold. I cannot adequately express how peaceful it was just to walk alone with nothing tugging me along.
A deep sigh. I’ve got to pee so I suppose I should wrap this up. How eloquent it’s been that I shall close this with disclosing that I must pee? Such a Christina thing to do that even this be part of the whole picture of my day. Sometimes man, you just gotta go!
I shall return to this place, another day. Perhaps find more transactions to be made, giving over my troubles to the Lord, and finding what I receive to be of much greater value.
… Life, you know. Such a gift just to be here now. To breathe in and out. To feel the earth below my feet, cool and soft. To hear the trains in the distance and the birds chattering, boats passing by. The breeze upon my skin, the way my hair blows and tickles my cheeks. Of all I can admit to these blank pages and this river, sometimes I lose the inclination to appreciate the littlest most worthwhile things, and perhaps that is saddest of all. We fade as quickly as this river flows, what really matters at the end? I’ll never stop trying to discern the best of this, and lay the rest before God, but I know I have a long way to go to make this my habit. I’ll never stop feeling deeply, and at times it means I suffer, yet I know as sure as I can be that there is purpose in the pursuit, even if I never fully surrender. I go on…..