I’m kneeling in a small wooden boat, sitting on my heels, the bottom just wide enough to sit cross legged but the wooden planks to wet to want to do this.
The boat moves upriver, around many bends and over shallow rapids. Past trees and trees and trees that rise up and arch over us to meet each other in embrace. Each moment is a brief encounter between our craft and the water that both supports and opposes us. An impossibly rare contact between particles that may never meet again.
Kneeling, my hands resting on my lap, I have my eyes closed lightly and I mediate. I feel the pressure of my heels against me, the breeze from our movement on my face, the suns warmth on my skin, the vibrations and the noise of the engine in my body.
I see the flickers and flashes of light from bright to dark across my eyelids. I let the breeze carry me away, floating for a micro second of near pure experience, then I fall back into my own awareness and smile a happy smile inside. It’s ok, I say to myself. It’s ok.
I try to get out of my own way again, but in trying I defeat myself. It’s ok, I say again. No need to try.
The boat rocks sharply and I grab the sides and open my eyes instinctively, and smile again at the nearness of frustration. It’s ok. It’s how it is.
I close my eyes and open my body to the sensations. The warm sun, the cool breeze, the sway of the boat and vibrations of the engine. Moments of immersion floating to the surface, fragile and easily burst by the simple act of seeing. It’s ok. No need to try.
Thoughts flow through me like the river through the forest. Sometimes I drift with them, carried along helplessly with the current, as unaware as deadwood.
Often, always in fact, I wake up and see that I have been adrift, perhaps for some time. Now I am no longer deadwood, but a rock, a boulder, smooth and ancient and steadfast, witness to the flowing stream around me, until I am worn down and carried off downriver once more. Down the endless river.
This is how it is, I notice, and I smile. No need to try. No need to resist. Be a smooth and ancient rock until I’m swept away as sediment. Then gather and form and be a smooth rock once more.
Sun dapples closed eyelids. Orange mist, then darkness, then orange mist again. I realise that I will write this once I reach my destination, and my inner monologue turns to prose in practiced anticipation.
I smile widely this time. It’s ok, I say, and know that I can carry this sentiment with me, wherever I am, always.
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