April 2, 2014: Meandering Along the River’s Edge

~by Virginia Rhys Anson, OFS

Meander on, oh river of mine.  Meander in and around boulder and brush; meander over and under grassy moss.  Your gentle gurgles placate my soul, quell my distracted mind.  Sunbeams sneaking between leaves glisten along your surface.  Your secrets kept from ages past, revealed to generations upon generation that, at your banks, do commune with your selfless flowing spirit.

Where do you weave your serpentine path amidst pines and oaks, your music whispering some ancient message to my ever thirsting soul? Did some cosmic act join the elements that have become you, my meandering river? What is your journey, your path through life?

So continues my mind’s intrigue.  Yet your goings and comings, your alpha and omega are of no consequence except to spur my childlike wonder.  Tis simply my fortune to sit and amass the marvel that is you.

Placid shimmer of genteel stroll over river rock polished through eons of your creating stroke.  How thou dost beckon.  Too strong be the desire to share your essence.  My soul cannot resist your call.

Feet dangling in your icy cloak, its frigid bite remaining so for merely a handful of seconds, acclimating ever so quickly.  My spirit drinks in your riparian oasis.  Many a time have I fished for trout hiding ‘neath your banks.  But that was in my youth, antecedent to the evolution of a spirit that cannot bear to kill even one of God’s creatures. When necessity so dictates, the demise of a fellow being elicits a sense of deep remorse at the precious life lost.

Much do I prefer respites on your banks, fishing for trout with my camera’s lens and my writer’s quill.  Aquatic antics of flipper-garbed rainbows floating downstream inspire my nature-craved soul, an occasional stray venturing within inches of tickling my toes.

A sprig of light twinkles from trout’s fin, its gleam playing tag with the wings of a dragonfly surfing your surface, dashing to and from a nearby cattail.  Rainbow’s fin splashes nano ripples along the river’s crystalline surface.  A nibble of trout teeth betrays my toe’s mistaken identity as a sumptuous, albeit mammoth, worm.  For hours rainbow’s game of hide and seek with your bank enchants my spirit–my child’s spirit, all too long hidden within the façade of an adult frame.

River of my youth, harbinger of discovery and intrigue and tranquility.  Mammalian tracks mold within your muddied banks–bear’s paw print embedded ever so prominently.  Fortunately, bear traveled into the river, his tracks retreating into the woods on your far side.  The potential danger of this treasured find lies banished to the depths of my cerebral caverns.

Lesser finds yield equal enthusiasm.  Bird tracks, raccoon tracings, deer hoof prints—all feed my naturalist spirit as it emerges from its cocoon.

Oh river of mine.  What secrets do you have yet to tell?  More, I suspect, than the physical nature that my eyes perceive.  You reveal the flow that should be life.  You traverse along the path ordained by your Creator.  At times you meander gently; at others, your fury surges with extreme intensity.  But always flow you do, your life’s purpose pursued to fulfillment.

Obstacles hinder, but do not halt your course.  You merely confront and weave a path around, between, and among your hurdle. Clumps of earth and glossy stones warrant merely a barely perceptible, quite gentle redirection of your path.

Boulders, however, elicit tremendous struggle and incur the wrath of your rapids.  But deter you, they do not.  You have a task given by your Creator, and you determine that no shackle will thwart your resolve.  Some merely elicit more.  A life lesson learned.  The reaction relative to the hindrance.

How freeing would be the life that is mine, were I to learn your proportioned reaction to stress.  But, alas, my instinct is to push against even life’s minutest challenges with intense and unwarranted vigor.  Such a waste of precious life energy.

Along this path, along this journey that becomes life, you nourish the life within and along your path—tad poles, larvae, moss, wildlife that sips at your sweetness.  Despite your hurdle, you persist along your journey to give and sustain life.  Few entities on Earth are more needed than you.

Oh river, sweet river that is mine.  How I should, likewise, nourish the life along my life’s path.  The wisdom of your humble being speaks this deeply within my soul.  So flow on, as flow you must.  From ages long forgotten, you meandered your route. For ages yet to be, you will meander still.  But today, you meander just for me, to impart your saged message.  You meander today to share your melody, so serene as to lull my being into oneness with the nature that I so love.  You meander to mentor me along my path of God’s design.  You direct my resolve to confront or divert around life’s snags, to carve out the trail of God’s intent for my nature soul, this plan that is my life.  To follow with enduring grit.

Meander on, oh river of mine.  Meander on.


Virginia Anson grew up in the shadows of Sandia Crest in New Mexico. Family camping trips may have sparked her passion for nature. She holds an A.S. in Electronics Technology, a B.A. in Writing, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and a certificate in Wildlife/Forestry Conservation. Her book, Mother Earth’s Caretakers, targets middle school youngsters and is published as an e-book for Kindle. Virginia is a Vietnam Era veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and her volunteer endeavors see her as a lector, Eucharistic minister, and sacristan in her parish and as a habitat steward for the National Wildlife Federation. She especially cherishes her life in the Secular Franciscan Order, following in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi.

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