I am Anchored in the River

 

I was born only a few short miles from the Father of Waters. The Mississippi River is a constant presence in my psyche and my memories; always changing, always flowing, never exactly the same. It scoured and flooded our history. It was a demarcation line – so wide that there was us and there was them. You could barely make out a figure on the opposite shore. Were they really there? There were so many stories.

 

   

It could be beautiful, or it could be fearsome. I remember joyful summer days on the deck of the huge excursion boat watching the shoreline and the city glide past. The big ship’s engines vibrated as it made its way through the strong current. The river's cliffs were made of red brick. Tow boats pushed barges up the river. There once were old warehouses that held cotton and furs – and a licorice factory. The old bridge made of granite and iron was built to last 1,000 years and it just might.

   

I lived as a boy near the confluence – where two great rivers flowed together. This is where Lewis and Clark, and a dog named Seaman, began the trip of discovery. This is where we ventured out, across the winter ice, to explore an island in the river. The island was big and wild, positioned where the Missouri River made a long, last bend toward its destiny. I remember the trees…massive trunks soaring skyward with piles of driftwood from ancient floods braced against their feet. There were Snakes.

   

Still later I lived in sight of the Missouri River, named after a local tribe… the People of the Big Canoes. This was near the farthest reach of French settlement in the old colonial days. The river stretched clear to the Rocky Mountains. Some of the river’s water comes from John Colter's Yellowstone and the old pathfinder was buried near here, on the south bank, not far from the edge of civilization in 1813. The sand glitters with promises of Colter's mountains: grains of Granite, Jasper, and Rosy Quartz.

   

Now I live on a hill sloping to the Rio Grande del Norte, called so by the early Spanish. The same river is called Rio Bravo in Mexico. My Keresan Pueblo Indian neighbors say “mets’ichi chena”, maybe the oldest name, meaning Big River – Rio Grande in  Spanish. The Rio Grande is a trickle by comparison to the rivers of my youth, but it is the lifeblood of the desert. Looking across the valley there is a broad forest of ancient cottonwoods following the river south toward the sea. We would not be here without the river.

   

The Navajo call the river “Tó Baʼáadi”, meaning Female River; the southward direction is given a female distinction among the Navajo. So, I have lived alongside the Female River as well as the Father of Waters. The current flows in my veins and I am anchored in the river.

   

 

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Flipping the Omelet

Very few people who have eaten my cooking realize that I am an expert cook. My topic today is flipping the omelet.

(Disclaimer: my omelets don't look like this)

Never flip an omelet from the center.

Always flip from the side.

If you are right-handed, flip from the left side.

If you are left-handed, flip from the right.

Never flip from out to in.

Flip in to out if you must.

Never flip from back to front or front to back.

It just confuses the omelet

Not to mention the cook.

These instructions apply to many areas of life, especially if butter is involved.

 

(From the archives)

 

 

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Four Wishes

 

Image courtesy of Diane Romanello

 

 

...For time

to heal and feel and breathe
free air unlaced with taint of death,
to ponder skies of patent blue
and kindled clouds of sunset hue,
to savour moments where life lives
and know no situation gives
of itself and without cost,
for in pursuit true life is lost

...and space

beyond encroaching walls,
a banished need for shopping malls,
those boundaries of every kind
breached on land, in heart and mind,
and false divisions that enlist
a pledge that puts us to the test,
removes our footprints with the tide
of cross-hatched plots and national pride

 ...and place

where energies recharge,
a refuge from the world at large
so inspiration finds its wings,
hard-earned spoils each season brings,
where travel can reveal new cultures
but foils the money-changing vultures,
lends atmospheres that tell of history
and conjures legends wreathed in mystery

...and Grace

in time and space to find
a place within our heart and mind
of peace, emblem of that heavenly home
where pearls exchange for purchased loam,
furnished by One who pierced the gloom
and snapped the bondage of the tomb
and rose to greet a golden dawn,
a mystic presence in our form

 

from Mysteries of Light (collection in preparation)

 

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Going to the Dickens

I have never read anything by Charles Dickens. The closest I ever came was playing Young Scrooge in a production of The Christmas Carol (many years ago - Dickens was probably still living). 

I have decided this is the year to correct this oversight, and I am looking for recommendations. Anyone have any favorites?  Other than Christmas Carol.

 

 

 

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Latest Comments

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