Life is a River

A few days ago, my good friend Doug posted a link to his #b03 blog titled "I am a Tree. My Life is a Tree" and it reminded me of a creative writing piece I did in the 8th Grade titled "My Life is a River." I wondered why we pull from nature our interpretations of life when we are so often surrounded by such unnatural objects.

I am sitting in a room filled with paper books that were once trees, now redesigned into small rectangular objects with oddly-shaped ink on the inside that we translate into words. I am surrounded by computers, their keyboards and mice, all made out of refined materials found deep under the surface of the Earth. There are people around me, working away on the computers, noses down in study notes. Completely detached from the world.

Despite being completely stationary, I am so aware of the world constantly changing and moving.

Imagine you are at the top of the icey Snowy Mountains, the clear blue skies above with only hints of cloud, the wide-reaching green, farms, trees, animals. This is the beginning. From here, the summer heat melts away the snow and sends water cascading down the mountains towards Adelaide. The water runs along, each molecule bumping another until water reaches Lake Alexandria, drifting slowly into the sea (that is, if the river ever runs full and the lake ever fills). There are great rushes of white water down the parts eroded at angles, then long stretches of almost idle water for much of its journey.

Imagine you sit upon the melting snow, not as a human form but as an observer of the river. Imagine the exhilaration, the learning, the rush of your first moments. You change your state - from solid to liquid - and sometimes parts of you jump into the air as you go so fast. You are in the midsts of your greatest growth. You learn what it is like to be water.

As you follow the river through its ups and downs, the twists and turns, you see the changing landscape around you. Farms, towns, great stretches of wilderness surround the river. you can sense the plants in the water, the fish swimming between their reeds, the warmth on the surface and coolness of the deeper water. You learn the pattern of the river - the types of plants that are native to each region, the boats that cruise each area, the things that float beside you.

As you drift along, sometimes the journey becomes monotonous. Sometimes it is too fast to keep track. Sometimes you are pummelled by the strength of the winds and rains, you feel yourself rising further up as the river floods. Somedays, you wash up upon the shore and scramble to make it back in. Others, you rest in peaceful contentment.

When your journey is coming to an end, you suddenly notice how little water there is around you. How many parts of your river have diverged or evaporated, seemingly in front of your eyes. You can see the end of the river in sight, you can sense that is is nearly your time to be let out to sea.

You think back to the beginning of your journey - the adrenaline, the noise, the feeling that you would never be lonely. You remember those times you felt lost in a trickle of the river, where you felt lifted by the swell. You've drifted, you've never ceased moving.  You keep going, even when you think there is no hope. You keep going because there's no choice, because you know that someone needs the river down the line.  You keep going because you like how it feels to be surrounded by this place you've learnt to call home.

In water, you're never static. Even when moving slowly, you're still going somewhere. In life, we need the water. Open your eyes and feel the nature around you. The ray of sun that warms you and the way the grass feels under your toes.

My life, it's like a river.


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