From the interstate the houses appear clean and well kept. Perfect, like miniature homes set up beside a model railroad track. From this distance you can’t see the dirt, chipped paint or fading siding.
Passing by at 70 miles an hour the guardrail and roadside grass blur, but distant proper looking homes and farm houses drift by slowly.
Horses graze, goats romp. Little white and tan dots moving around must be chickens, pecking at feed in the barnyard.
And then the raging river.
After exiting the interstate we drove onto winding, back country roads through rural Pennsylvania, in the northern counties of the Susquehanna River Valley. Beautiful country for sure.
The high river raced along beside us, swollen with recent rains. My wife was driving so I had the opportunity to watch the river rage and roll over what must be large stones and boulders beneath the surface. I gazed up beyond the churning, frothing rapids to watch the river bank beyond.
The river was coursing by the same old homes and farms we were passing, and I thought, “if the river could talk.”
Rivers have been flowing since the begining of time on Earth. The ripples and currents hold stories from before the rise of mankind.
Water witnessed the birth of life. Water witnessed the first lobe-finned fish waddle out of its wet world onto dry land.
Water has provided a refreshing, nourishing drink for dinosaurs and every thirsty creature that has since roamed the planet.
If the river could talk.
Just like neural pathways in the brain the river has dark recesses, tunnels, dams and falls, that hold it up or cause it to diverge from the original course.
Sometimes I’ll watch a movie and realize half way through that I’ve seen it before. This has only happened in the past for or five years, but there is a specific period of time effected. I blame too much alcohol consumption directly after the divorce from my first wife, while I was stuck in limbo, with all the memories I’m happy to forget now.
The drinking was a natural response. For sure it was intentional. It helped to blur that period of my life so I could move on with it and off-load the bullshit into some dark part of my brain to gather well deserved dust. That part of the brain psychologists are always telling people they need to peek into.
The dark recesses of the brain are there for a reason, to hold all the crud that would otherwise mess up our dirty up our windshield. Like debris on the surface of a river will collect in certain recesses of the riverbank, allowing clean water to continue flowing. We don’t need to be looking at that stuff. In my opinion, some things are just better left alone.
If the river could talk it might reveal things that are better left hidden by time and silence. But there are some things in history that we would love to ask the river. The river might whisper tales of trappers, fishermen, timber mills, battles, riverboat travels, good fortune and love.
As we drive by and I gaze out the window of the car to the river, the trees, towns and people we pass, my brain siezes the opportunity to imagination adventures, amazing things that could be, or may have been. I wonder and dream. And that’s a good thing.
Our lives are like rivers in that sense. If we spend time in the shallows digging through the garbage we don’t get anywhere. There is a bigger, wider lake or ocean that the river, or life, is trying to lead us too.
I say paddle on. Point your canoe downstream and paddle. Find someone to paddle with and it’s even better.