Monday, March 4, 2013

Riffle, Run, Pool

...To look in the mirror, in total surprise
At the hair on my shoulders, the age in my eyes...Waylon Jennings

Sounds of the river crept back into his conscious mind, as if nature had turned her volume down in deference to the phone call, and  was now returning to previous programming.

When the phone rang he groused about people calling when he was astream. It had not always been so. Only a few short years ago nothing of the sort could have occurred. Now few places escape the smothering blanket of cellular phone coverage. He cursed technology under his breath, as much from his tether to it as the interruptions it caused.

When he spied the caller's name all irritation vanished. Daughters have that effect on dads. Excitement about a ring and a promise, and a myriad of plans all piled up in a short call. Pride and prejudice well up as one emotion. As the call ends one emotion becomes legion. 

As a man "of a certain age", reflection and reminisce come naturally. When he was 25, there was little to be nostalgic about. Most of his yesterdays were still in the future; but no longer.

Memories of a little girl now grown drift though his mind buoyed by conflicting currents; complex and of uncertain depth. They flow headlong downstream, tumbling riffle, run, and pool.

It was good to receive such news on his beloved river. He once feared rivers. The river in the town of his youth claimed a boy while in flood. His mother recounted the story to him - her own fear of water transferred to him like a contagion.

As the boy grew into a man, he discovered that things once feared can sometimes become friends when you take time to learn about them.

He learned in the military how a segregated south kept him from making friends with those carrying a different skin color because of fear. A fear overcome by sharing lives and common hardships.

He learned that oceans and bays breed more than sharks and hurricanes from the deck of a kayak.

Rivers can create life and take it. They rage as well as repose. They are commodities, but today a companion.

He fears that he won't forever be the only man in his daughters lives. Getting to know his future son in law will moderate that fear...some.  


Justin Parker said...

Wow, that was quite nice. It seems like your voice is really strong, and you're in the zone in this piece. :) Wistful, sage, poetic. And you know, or you should, that this line is so money: "They flow headlong downstream, tumbling riffle, run, and pool." It is the crescendo of this particular work!

Gush. ;)

Steph said...

Yeah, what Justin said. Love this. Made me cry.

Mark said...

Thanks guys - high praise coming from two of my favorite creative types!

PamPierce said...

Ditto Justin and Steph. Beautifully written. Your emotions were shining through in this one.