In the mingling of the rivers, there are so many stories, so many memories, and so much emotional freight, that they can get stuck for a while. Like trying to pour all the water out of a bottle too quickly and watching it pile up, constipated – each drop impatiently waiting its turn to pass through the bottle’s neck.
Trusting the process is important. What the stories – the water – need is time, while nature (or gravity) does what it does best.
It’s true that one never stands in the same river twice. When the water has passed, it has passed. Except for the shared stories that cling to our ankles or form part of other rivers, including our own.
This is grief’s consolation. And more: that while this river has run dry, and much of it is truly “lost,” its water abides in The Great Water. What was a story becomes part of The Great Story. In nature, and in our lives, nothing is wasted. The first part of that last sentence is a scientific fact; the second part of it is faith. Science and faith have far more to do with each other than some people think.
All this talk of metaphors and stories and rivers – is this too complicated, convoluted, and confusing? Yes. This is, after all, a meditation on life and death, which is all those things.
Are we talking about stories or a river? Both. And neither. Death is messy.
We live with it.
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