Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dip & Rise

     The day’s first light graces the highest point on the canyon wall and slowly begins to work its way down towards the river, illuminating layers of rock and time in the process.  Shadows bend and morph by the minute, revealing unnoticed pockets and dimensions, a single sandstone wall becoming many as I drift by and gaze upon its array of intricacies.  Droplets of water fall off the outstretched oars as they methodically dip and rise, dip and rise, dip and rise.  The rhythm of them lapping the water is my morning music, my mantra, my prayer.  Like holy words repeated over and over again, they still my mind and center my soul.  Birds flutter and chirp, and in between spans of tranquility, the river narrows, tumbling over rocks and boulders.  Waves build and break.  Currents swirl and boil in a seemingly chaotic mess of froth and white.  It is written here in the turbulent mess, in the wild and the wet, the language older than time itself. For it is said that even before night and day, before heavens and earth, there was simply water and spirit.  We float along, listening to this language, reading the water.  Treading only along currents that invite us, we are careful to heed the warnings of other paths. The river speaks to us, and by listening we are connected to it and to the beginning.  We travel deeper into the heart of this place, and in doing so travel deeper into ourselves.  In side canyons we rediscover the awe and wonder of childhood, exploring and laughing and loosing ourselves, existing only in the moment at hand.  In others, we find ourselves overwhelmed by emotions we had stored in our own narrow, deep, hidden place.  The language of water is now written on us as tears make their way down our face.  We sketch images.  We write words.  We take photos.  We sit and stare and breathe deeply.  We do whatever we can to hold on to this place.  Though some of us shall return and others never again, we all know there will be times we will long to look back and to remember vividly in hopes of resurrecting these feelings again.  There were moments we felt 
strong, when we pushed ourselves, and others when we simply faced the challenge we had no control over.  Staring up at moonlit canyon walls and a sliver of stars overhead, we realized our smallness and became comfortable in it.  We shared stories and laughter.  We celebrated the days of our birth, and professed our commitment and our love.  We listened and looked each other in the eyes.  We connected.  And maybe in the end, that is the greatest gift of this grandest of canyons.  It inspires and encourages connection, with each other, with ourselves, with the waters and the world around us.  Here, we awake expectantly.  We look forward to that first morning light, excited for the places it shall reveal.  We listen for the soothing rhythm of oars as they kiss the water’s cheek, whispering holy words as they dip and rise . . . dip and rise . . . dip and rise.