The Other Side of the River

I arise early, on this Sunday morning, with the first feeble rays of sunlight seeping into me, and rousing me from sleep. A heavy fog blankets my yard and neighborhood, and I excitedly make my way down to the river in silence...

It is breathtakingly beautiful in the park. Herds of deer grazing, breakfast in deep oblivion, illuminated by pristine shafts of early morning light, piercing through the fog and the trees, which punctuate the skies, like exclamation points...

I step onto the boat launch, inches from the water, and am silent witness to squirming tadpoles. I yearn to paddle on this exquisite morning, but I must make my way to the other side of the river to teach a very early yoga class...

The river before me disappears into the gray mist - blending into the sky and the shoreline of the neighboring state I will momentarily be crossing. I cannot ascertain where one begins and the other ends. I watch a pair of fishermen silently glide away from the shore, swallowed by the thick and silvery tapestry. They slowly fade and disappear, as if they were being erased or as if they were crossing into the fabled island of Avalon - the mythic and enchanted island from the Arthurian legends, and portal to another dimension...

Nearly three years ago, I began writing this blog, almost on a whim or impulse, without advance planning, at the same time I started visiting this river almost daily, over the span of a year and half. In the first five or six posts, I wrote about my longing to go to the other side of the river, at a time I could not have anticipated being called to commune with the river itself. I did not imagine that one day, I would receive an instruction to step into the river, or that I would acquire Grace, my kayak, and proceed to navigate these healing waters as I paddled through a river of emotions and issues for months and seasons at a time.

I listened to the voice within, that beckoned way back then, and the song from the film, "The Motorcycle Diaries" that came to mind at that time. It won the Oscar for "Best Original Song" some years back, even though its original lyrics are in Spanish. Because it was these lyrics that so spoke to me then, I offer them here, with the English translation immediately following...

Al Otro Lado del Rio

Clavo mi remo en el agua
llevo tu remo en el mio
Creo que he visto una luz
al otro lado del rio

El dia le ira pudiendo
poco a poco al frio
Creo que he visto una luz
al otro lado del rio

Sobre todo, creo que no todo esta perdido.
Tanta lagrima, tanta lagrima
y yo soy un vaso vacio

Oigo una voz que me llama,
casi un suspiro
Rema, rema, rema
Rema, rema, rema

En esta orilla del mundo
lo que no es presa es baldio
Creo que he visto una luz
al otro lado del rios

Yo, muy serio, voy remando,
muy adentro y sonrio.
Creo que visto una luz
al otro lado del rio.

The Other Side of the River

I plunge my paddle into the water
I carry your paddle in mine
I believe I have a light
On the other side of the river

The day will come when we will be able to conquer
Little by little, the cold
I believe I have seen a light
On the other side of the river

Above all, I believe that all is not lost
So many tears, so many tears
And I am an empty glass

I hear a voice that calls to me,
almost as a sigh:
Row, row, row!
Row, row, row!

In this border of the world
What is trapped, will not bear fruit
I believe I have seen a light
On the other side of the river

I, very seriously, continue rowing
I smile, very deeply inside, for
I believe I have seen a light
On the other side of the river

And thus today, nearly three years later, I go to the other side of the river, as I have, crossing over in more ways than I could have ever foreseen or imagined.


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