ON THE RIVER: A DREAM
The old man pushed the red canoe onto the water and said
“This is a young river.”
Aren’t they all young, I said.
After all, what is here now will be gone tomorrow.
Isn’t a river ever new?
“That’s not what I mean,” the old man said.
“I mean simply to say that while everything looks deep and smooth now
things will change.
“There are places below where the water is so shallow that the boat cannot draw.
You’ll have to wade and pull.”
I told the old man that it was nothing new to me, that I had waded and pulled before.
“There are strange birds below,” he said. “Blue and Green Herons. They look out of place. The Green Heron is smaller and odd looking. They look like they’ve been pulled backwards through a straw.
“You’ll see the water change color,” he said. “Some of the pools below are green and some are blue.”
I asked the old man what caused the change in color.
“I don’t know,” he said. “People have different ideas. Theories about that. But nobody really knows.”
I was glad to know this, but anxious to leave and to feel my boat glide away on that river that was renewing itself, moment by moment. So I stepped into the boat and gave a silent push with the paddle.