From afar it looks to be no more than any other shore I have ever stood upon. As I emerge from the forest and draw nearer there is something novel that pulls me closer to the tumbling water. I walk across a downed redwood which holds an intensity radiating from its bow. The feeling is concentrated but blissful. I duck past the old man’s vertically radiating branches and try to steady myself on the moist bark. Before the moment is fully realized I find myself jumping down onto the beach.
It’s rockier than I expected and littered with the detritus of a river that swells and falls. I stutter in my footsteps trying to find the space between the larger stones that is filled with small pebbles. The insecurity underfoot is troubling for a stride accustomed to smooth city streets whose only surprise is the splintered crack where nature has begun to recolonize. Such urban imperfection is always filled and smoothed over for the thousands wielding their briefcases. Not here where imperfection has formed this utopia. The sound of the current, a gentle change of temperature, and my expanding chest brings the mind back to this moment and I am still walking forward. I come to embrace my broken gait.
The shore is sandier now. The seating options unlimited. The water seems to say, “Pull up a stool” and I am glad to oblige. I now rest at the river and feel my spirit come to be.
I am pressured to ask, “What is this discord in me?”
It’s not an elaborate conversation, more a whisper of inner dialogue, but I long for the answers. There seem to be many patterns in a world I’m yet to see.
“Where will I go, and who will I be?”
The river yawns and responds, “You’re guided by questions but are you really searching for answers?”
I stare back at the surface knowing that beneath the bubbling layer lies what I seek. Underneath the molecules push among one another jockeying for dominance. In the end democracy prevails and the molecules holding back the tide join with the others coursing downstream.
Moisture balls on the underbelly of a nearby twig hanging in defiance of gravity that will inevitably return it to the flow of the river below. A drop falls slowly and plunks into the stream breaking my meditation with a smile.
I head back into the contenting forest and embrace that I have once again learned a lesson from nature.