The Silence of Putting A River to Bed

Good night my playful, mysterious friend.

Over weeks and days, I have lingered over the sagging banks with cautious indecision, should I rest or should I run? Holding bird and foul between my covers, most are gone now. But I must crawl under an icy comforter of insulated cold, my voice silenced by the dark and unknown paths downward to become something larger than myself. The fury of spring screams can not be sustained, and the world walks away from my uncontrollable voice of sheer destruction, mumbling of insurance and death. No, I have had my bedtime story, and I am running slow and heavy. My foot sinks deeply into the smooth, sandy bottom and taunts me in.

Perhaps I could linger for a moment and place my head against the bank, coating sprigs and twigs with magnifying glasses of wonder? Yes, perhaps I shall, for I am not ready for the deep sleep of winter.

The warmth and snap of fall nudge me awake, blanket falling to the floor. The deep sleep is coming, but its earned well and will arrive on a secret schedule.

Yet, the paddler comes to my side watching and waiting, with admiration and memories of my challenge and power. The paddler knows that I tire of carrying it all on good graces. The paddler has earned my respect and knows me well.

So I will pull the covers over my nose, and hide my vulnerable back-side from the world. My over-wear is on, responsibilities are fulfilled, spring tantrums tolerated, and waters are running amber deep.

She is standing on the shore, fire creating a circle of connection to the world above. She draws the crescent of my smile, my last connection to the world above me. She will miss my antics and velvet voice, and then she speaks:

“Good night, my playful, mysterious friend. We will meet again in the spring.”

Ellen McDonah 12/2018

(About this entry:

I was inspired to write this to explain a longing connection with the river felt when the rivers ice over in Wisconsin. Somehow, I wanted to speak on behalf of the river to explain its need for dormancy, yet reassure its return.)