El Rio

This morning was simply beautiful - cool, breezy, fresh - a typical fall morning...

I stopped by the river on my way to an acupuncture treatment and noticed that the river was vibrant, and nothing but undulating waves. Leaves were casually being released into the waters by surrounding trees, and they floated downstream effortlessly...

I watched two kayakers take off on a bumpy ride and disappear...

My rocks were under water, so I found another one to sit on and do my meditation as my senses took in the beauty of the landscape and the morning. It never fails to amaze me how the river can look so different each time I come...

A friend and former student of mine has also been going to the river on a regular basis this year - though she accesses the river at another park farther downstream from where I do. She has developed her own relationship to the river and her insights, which she has periodically shared with me, are nothing short of breathtaking and enlightening.

Recently, she wrote a friend about her experiences in Spanish. While I cannot truly capture the poetry and eloquence of her original words, I asked for permission to share her insights here. At first, I intended to post her ruminations in Spanish, but then I realized that most of my readers would not be able to savor her delicious insights.

So - dear Veronica - I freely translate and share your reflections, hoping to convey some of the innate beauty of your musings.... Thank you for sharing!

Rio (The River)

Today I went to the river I have been visiting so often during this year.
There are days it calls out to me.
The river is a refuge that embraces me and teaches me so much...
This connection that exists between the river and me is almost like a ritual.

As I visit it regularly, I begin to recognize details and notice subtle changes.
I note the changes of the coming season, which are now very evident.
The leaves of the trees are still green and reluctant to let go of their branches.
Yet they surrender to increasing humidity or dryer weather when they finally release.

The squirrels seem to urgently gather their provisions for the coming winter.

I often walk on a path along the river banks until it ends.
Sometimes I listen to music until the visual feast that unfolds before me overtakes this sense. Every once in a while, I stop and take in the beautiful panorama that nature has to offer.
Every time, I am simply amazed at the abundance that this, our universe, has to offer.
And every time, I more deeply comprehend that everything is exactly as it should be in this particular moment in time.

The current of the river changes its rhythm from one place to the other,
depending on the whims of the wind and the shape of the river banks.
I note the depth and breath of the shoreline and how it varies from one visit to another.
Tree limbs and rocks manifest and disappear.
What never changes is the energy that flows eternally and which moves the current.
It is just like everything else in life.

As I near the end of the path, I rest on some rocks.

Imagine how ridiculous it is that one day I even began to think of them as my rocks.
I have had the good fortune to go to the river during weekdays when there are hardly other persons there.
Like today, when I did not see another soul.

The Fourth of July [which is Independence Day here]
I visited "my" rocks and they had been invaded.
Some Salvadoreans weren't only playing very loud salsa music,
but they were also making tortillas -
on my rocks!
For a few moments I was angry. I wanted silence.
So I ran to another rock that I did not know.

Instead of inviting silence, I invited surrender.
I observed the group enjoying a day off.
I listened to the music that reminded them of their roots.
Then I laughed as I realized how absurd I was to think that the rocks were mine.

Today the river received me in silence.
That type of silence that allows you to listen to the music that comes from the flow of the river.
I sat and wrote in my journal for a while.
Reflections poured out of me, very easily.

I closed my eyes for a while to meditate on the sounds.
Birds, the current, the breeze, airplanes, leaves blowing in the wind, and my breath.
Blessings.

That is how one gains insights.
Moments when one feels totally and completely as one truly is.
And when one also is in tune with the whole magnitude of nature.
Its currents and turbulence.
Its fluctuations - what changes and what is constant.

I see all that is possible.
Until the end of time when all becomes one.

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