“It is said that before entering the sea
a river trembles with fear.
She looks back at the path she has traveled,
from the peaks of the mountains,
the long winding road crossing forests and villages.
And in front of her,
she sees an ocean so vast,
that to enter
there seems nothing more than to disappear forever.
But there is no other way.
The river can not go back.
Nobody can go back.
To go back is impossible in existence.
The river needs to take the risk
of entering the ocean
because only then will fear disappear,
because that’s where the river will know
it’s not about disappearing into the ocean,
but of becoming the ocean.”
– Kahlil Gibran, Fear
I have an old porcelain bathtub in my backyard. Yesterday was a cool morning and I made the water especially hot so I could stay in for a long time. The maple tree already showed hints of red, orange and yellow. The air was thick with the scent of ripe blackberries. Wild geese heading south flew in formations overhead.
It’s been a gentle summer. One of reflection and clearing out old ways of being. No matter what happens in the world in the future I am now like the river in Kahlil Gibran’s poem. There’s no going back to the long winding road I had been traveling on. Always planning the next trip, the next project, the place to live. Never being fully present right where I was.
I’ve let go of the river bank and find myself flowing in the downstream current towards the future I always wanted, but was too busy to have. A slowed down life. One of creativity, community and consciousness. Soaking in the hot water, listening to the excited honking of the geese I thought of these lines from Mary Oliver’s poem, Wild Geese:
“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
The world calls to us. Even during difficult times we must dare to take the risk to let our river become the ocean. In that vastness we can let go of fear, find our true selves, and claim our place in the family of things.