TITLE: Rivergirl's Run
By David Butler
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I couldn't decide whether this should be chategorized as "Short Story" or "Poetry". However, because of its size and narrative nature, I chose Short Story.
Part 1 of “Songs of the Rivers.” From the “Creation’s Declaration” Series
She was conceived from the dew of heaven
That caused the earth to bring her to birth.
In no time she sprang forth from being tiny splashing pools of fun
To a giggling little trickle.
Off she ran, down the hill before you could stop her!
Drawing from her like, she grew and grew as you watched,
Sparkling like living crystal as she danced past your feet.
So fresh. so clear, clean and unspoiled in her youth.
So transparent in her naivety - she knew yet no fear.
With great vigour and momentum, bursting with life,
She is now a great and fierce white tigress,
Roaring through steep parental valleys.
Seeking freedom from restraint, she tears like teeth and claws,
Snarling savagely at the boundaries around her.
She cares nothing for the scars and brokenness left behind.
She slips past barriers in her path, or rolls them away if she can,
Casting herself in frothing rage when they do not yield.
When she finds a path around them, she laughs mockingly.
To her, it’s all part of the dance of life.
As she flows on from rock to rock and from song to song
Wherever the unacknowledged limits of her destiny allows,
This is her refrain:
“I am fair and I am strong
I live for dance, for joy, for song.
The mistress of my fate am I
And so all fences I defy!”
So she sings as she leaps the crags of life’s smaller challenges,
And hits the ground running,
Chasing that elusive path to ultimate joy unending,
So sure that it will be found in the next twist or turn or rapid’s end.
At the first great precipice of life she laughs brashly as she plunges over,
Whipping up her frothy mane in defiance, tearing at any rock or tree she could find.
From rocky shelf to perilous hold she leaps and slithers, so sure she will be safe,
Crying with fear, yes, yet also laughing recklessly where she slips and falls.
She had come through many drops before and survived.
But now it’s the final, seemingly endless drop.
Now fear truly grips her.
Where are the holds, the barriers she knew before?
She felt control was slipping from her grasp.
Where are the channels she despised yet clung to in the past?
Whoosh! She is forcibly plunged deep into the great turmoil below,
Tumbled, buffeted mercilessly and losing all sense of direction.
The booming noise and torment bullying and coercing her
In an endless maelstrom of madness, leading nowhere.
She wept and roared to be released from this watery nightmare,
Until at long last it all casts her aside, having no more use for her.
She drifts out from the cauldron of life, exhausted.
She is at rock-bottom now,
Feeling at last the pains and bruises of the journey of life.
She finds herself as a flat, sullen pond, going nowhere,
Without direction or purpose, all momentum gone.
Drifting aimlessly perforce in the backwaters,
Now aware of her soiled nature.
The flotsam and jetsam she had heedlessly collected in her headlong rush
Now floats to the surface and stinks,
Choking and impeding her progress.
The tumult of life continues its course nearby,
But ignores her, now that she has lost her beauty and her strength.
Muddied and lifeless - who would drink from her waters now?
In her despair, her darkened waters lose all the former lustre and prideful glory.
She is forced to reflect and remember from whence she came.
She looks to the heavens,
and sees the immensity and majesty of creation,
A sky without channels and limiting cliffs, that goes upward forever.
The sun, moon and stars are reflected even in her defiled countenance,
And she sees herself as she truly is:
A muddy trickle of nothingness that has run its course.
So she sings a lament:
“O heedless, heartless fool was I,
My face averted from the Sky!
I long to feel wash’d clean once more!
To flow transparent as before!”
All of creation seems to have turned against her.
Even the skies become dark and threatening with gathering clouds, hiding the sun.
But in her darkest despair, she feels clean teardrops falling upon her.
The Sky weeps for her sorrow with cleansing tears of compassion.
(And was that blood she tasted midst the dew from the Sky?
Or did it come from that rugged tree overshadowing her -
The one she badly wounded in her great fall?)
For the Lord of Waters has gone before on that path she treads,
Although it could not defile Him.
So she thankfully drinks of the healing, life-giving liquid;
Feeling a great stirring in her innermost depths.
No more does she claim to be her own source,
For her path had been ordered to this meeting place.
Suddenly, out of her depth there wells up new fountains of Living Water,
And she sings a new song as her laughter ripples forth with reborn vigour:
“The One above brought my release
To find new hope, new joy and peace.
No longer choked by the wreckage of sin,
New life, spring forth from deep within!”
She is now replenished with new strength and depth.
Rising up as the blessed rain swells her with new joy to overflowing,
She casts aside much of the baggage she has carried with her.
She bids farewell to the mindless maelstrom,
Which calls in vain for her to add her renewed strength to its senseless churnings.
But that is not for her.
She turns and plunges laughing down into the channel of destiny.
Life is now a greater adventure before, for she flows with new purpose.
What does the Lord of Waters and her Sky-Father require of her?
She looks down toward the new ways she is now directed.
Behold! A breathtaking view she had never bothered to see before,
So absorbed in her own being had she been.
Below her is a vision of wonder - valleys rich in promise and beauty,
Having such a diversity of colours, shapes and textures
At which she had only glanced at in her rapid passing before.
Great forest of lush green hues.
Lakes of heavenly blues that reflect the Sky.
Ripe fields of golden wheat and orchards of bright-coloured fruit.
But then her attention is caught amidst the glory of it all.
Amongst the pleasant places there are scars in the landscape -
Hard, dry and thirsty places, burnt or desolate.
So stark is the contrast that they cry out in their need:
“We are the lands the Sky forgot.
Fire and famine is our lot.
Parched with thirst and dying we.
O, is there none to set us free?
Compassion stirred in the depths of the Rivergirl for the first time,
And she cried out to the Source in the Sky:
“O Lord of Rains, I am so blessed,
But yonder lands are sore distressed.
Will these deserts live again?
O send Your pure and healing rain!”
The answer came in the breeze that rippled over her clear face:
“Such is the errand of mercy where I
Send you, my child, to the dead and the dry.
The glory of heaven in you is reflected.
Soak them with Love by which you’re resurrected.”
So, with alacrity, she sweeps down to fulfil her calling,
Confident that she is the answer to their need.
She rushes past many of the green places she had admired before,
Ignoring their beauty in her haste to reach the barren places,
Impatiently casting aside the leaves and petals
That are showered on her in friendly greeting.
But when she floods into the first dry valley,
She finds it is indeed hard and dry, even harsh and hostile.
It is a place that does not welcome strangers.
It does not recognise her mission.
Stoney silence answers her greeting.
She is flowing so fast, she sweeps past the places of greatest need.
Her healing balm washes over the parched earth unheeded.
Resisting her touch, it remains dry and lifeless as before.
On she flows, now slower and troubled.
Why has she failed when the need and the call was so real?
Soon she finds herself floating through high frowning cliffs
And darker, narrower, echoing vales that shut out the sun.
Menacing rents in the earth appear before her, that would swallow her up.
She shrinks within her banks in fear, looking to her Source for help.
And even in the Valley of the Shadow she can still feel the Wind of Heaven,
Whispering comfort and wisdom, now that she has nowhere else to turn:
“For even the deepest and darkest vale
Or mountain steep shall pass and fail.
But first, be still and heed My voice.
Then shall you make the wisest choice.”
In pools of thought, she reflects on her presumption.
She should have known that her source was from heaven alone.
As she calms herself, she settles in herself to trust her Source in everything.
Then much of the silt and dross that she still carried drops away,
Leaving her cleaner and purer than before.
A spring of joy arises anew from her depths, which carries her through the valley
Until she races out into the sun again.
Gathering herself for the new direction she is given, she flows onward,
But now in harmony with the Whispering Breath above her.
She welcomes the greetings and gifts of the greener places.
For the showering leaves clothe her in shades of green
And the nectar of the falling flowers sweeten and refresh her
On the way to the places of desolation beyond.
Spreading herself and her gifts wisely now,
She slowed and she stayed, soaking into the hard rocky places.
Sensitively she waited in pools of patience until the hard earth softened,
And began to drink in the benefit she imparted.
Then, to her joy, she began to see life break forth where there once was death.
Seeds that she carried unawares from the greener places
Now sprout forth, bringing fruitfulness to a once fruitless land.
Fish and other living things thrive in her richness.
The once desert lands blossom into a new spring of hope and promise.
Many wonder at the change, and come to drink from her waters.
Now her resources can no longer be easily exhausted
As she has learned to keep the flow of blessing unhindered from her Source.
Those who gather on her banks find refreshment as they listen to her song:
“Come drink of my cool and healing stream
Where you may rest, revive and dream.
Come, find refreshment here, yet I
Am merely a channel from the Sky.”
Riverside children dance with her, laughing, in her shallow rock pools.
Or are rocked to sleep by her lullaby,
She carries small boats to their journey’s end.
Yet she little knows what is ‘round the next bend.....
Copyright 2007 David Butler
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