I love standing where rivers meet the sea. Here, I imagine the crescendo of a timeless cycle. An entire ocean fractures into a single drop at the crest of a wave-- crashes, evaporates into mist, morphs into a raindrop, falls onto mountaintops, trickles downhill to become a river, plunges towards the plains, winds through meadows, forests and valleys, and finally, after a lifetime of wandering, pours itself back into the sea. Such a quiet crescendo, for such a miraculous journey.
The end of the trail looks a lot like the end, in general, for the old river. The glory days of bounding over boulders and cascading over falls are behind it. The long, peaceful stretches, that seemed would go on forever, did not. And yet, what looks like the end, is just a new beginning, a merging of the finite into the infinite, like melting into the very best welcome home hug, after arriving home safely at last. Maybe it's only wishful thinking, but standing where Coon Creek ripples into the Pacific, I can't help but ponder: maybe we too are only journeying towards home. Maybe, we are destined to merge and fracture and merge-- whole, to part to whole-- over and over, catching new waves on different shores, rising up again and again in a shimmer of mist. Who knows? In the mean time, happy surfing and streaming!
This week, the rain fell in California more furiously than I have ever seen rain fall. It rained horizontally and vertically and slant-wise, all at the same time, with wind howling like wolves outside the door. The rain seemed intent on scouring our house from the earth.
I've been pondering this uneven bestowing of sun and rain. Seven years of drought, and now this? Pondering the mysteries of the Great Divine, my fanciful, egocentric brain demands:
"You couldn't strangle California with drought, so you just wanna pressure-wash us off the continent?
You're annoyed with our politics?
You're weeping for your lost people? Weeping with joy for our gumption?
You just got distracted and forgot us--and are trying to make up for lost time?"
In my sciencey moments, I assume it is only science, no interference from the Benevolent Creator, and that natural and unnatural forces have messed with our atmosphere so much we've upset the climate balance.
In my best moments, I chose to believe that rain, no matter how much and how furiously it falls, is both a natural blessing, and also, is a sign of abundance and good will. It might seem too much a good thing-- but the frogs are singing, and the ducks are flapping, and the creeks, so long empty, are roaring.
Still, rain like this makes us think of arks. The idea of trying to save humanity from being washed off the planet is worth contemplating. Ok-- to be honest, I don't really want to save everyone. There are a few I would leave off the ark. And that is the problem.. Maybe I need to build a more spacious metaphorical ark--an- extra-roomy-personal-worldview ark--with room for two or more of every stripe and color, for when the rain stops and we go forth to replant, repopulate, repent--whatever.
I picture myself (how flattering!) a tree-hugging Koala, double-bunked, cringing in a cramped, dung-filled stall with a whirling, carnivorous, foaming-at-the-mouth, Tasmanian Devil. It keeps shrieking that everyone (except itself, and the red-white-and-blue striped zebras) have to be thrown overboard. "Put up the wall! Haul up the gangplank ! Make America Great! Dump Toxins into the streams to save the coal mines!" I am aghast. Appalled. I want It off my boat. In my heart of hearts, I acknowledge that the Great Creator made the snarly ones just as he made the snuggly ones. But still, I I want that devil off.
However-- my metaphorical-and-wise Noah-Voice reminds me, the rain will eventually stop, and the world will begin again, with its work of sowing and reaping and lurching towards grace. With only Koalas or Tasmanian Devils (and American-flag-colored Zebras) on board, we lose the strength and resilience and brilliance we only get with diversity. This isn't faith; it's science. There is a reason for each of us to be saved.
So, from my grimly-shared bunk, on my metaphorical ark, I will grudgingly grant this Devil his right to be on board. I will try not to give in to my fear of being eaten alive. I will look for ways to make it apparent, even to a Devil, that for mutual survival--we gotta make space for those not like us on this ark.
I will sing over the shrieking, in my off-key voice, the "Be Kinder than Necessary" and "Take Care of Mother Earth" hymns that are whispering in all of our ears, if we take time to listen. Koalas, it turns out, can be loud when they need to be. In the mean time, let it rain. Streams in California are dancing once more.
Welcome to Streamriffs.com, a place for fellow creek- walkers and nature lovers. Lori Fisher Peelen lives in California with her family.